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How El Nio May Affect The Tropics

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While this year’s predicted El Niño event may bring much-needed rain to California and other parts of the country, it could potentially lead to devastating costs for those in the tropics. Solomon Hsiang, a public policy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, says that previous El Niño’s triggered droughts, wildfires, floods, and outbreaks of diseases that severely impacted societies and economies in the tropical regions.

"El Niño causes the tropical regions to become hotter and drier for the better part of the El Niño year. And what we found is consistent with these other findings that leads to both a decline in economic productivity throughout the tropics as well as an almost doubling in the rate of many patterns of violence throughout the tropics."

Hsiang is hoping to raise awareness to those in less affected areas that El Niño’s are serious events.

"In the United States and in California we’re very aware of what’s going on. It changes our rainfall patterns, but the things we experience here are nowhere near as extreme as the things that the 3 billion people in the tropics will be experiencing over the coming months."

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