Finding: ‘El Niños 10,000 years ago were as strong and frequent as the ones we experience today’

El Nino

Watts Up With That?

Ancient shellfish remains rewrite 10,000-year history of El Niño cycles

Hannah Hickey University of Washington

The planet’s largest and most powerful driver of climate changes from one year to the next, the El Niño Southern Oscillation in the tropical Pacific Ocean, was widely thought to have been weaker in ancient times because of a different configuration of the Earth’s orbit. But scientists analyzing 25-foot piles of ancient shells have found that the El Niños 10,000 years ago were as strong and frequent as the ones we experience today.

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