El Ninos are far costlier than once thought, in the trillions, study says and ones brewing now

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  • The last strong El Nino was in 2016.Because “the impacts of El Nino look a lot like the impacts of global warming,” studying the El Nino economic damage “is pretty essential” to understanding the bigger damage from human-caused climate change, Mankin said.
  • “Economies bear the scars of El Nino for a decade or more and potentially forever,” said study co-author Justin Mankin, a Dartmouth climate scientist.The economic scars are the diversion of spending away from technology and innovation toward recovery and rebuilding efforts, Callahan said.
  • But we didn’t have as much of a handle on its sort of macroeconomic implications, both what that means just on a year-to-year basis and what that might mean with future global warming,” said study lead author Christopher Callahan, a climate impacts researcher at Dartmouth.
  • And some — but not all — outside economists have issues with the new research out of Dartmouth College, saying its damage estimates are too big.Study authors said the average El Nino costs the global economy about $3.4 trillion.
  • But the Dartmouth team said they are looking at more than the traditional costs and for longer time periods.“We have this sense that El Nino is a really big hammer that hits the Earth system every few years.
  • It also adds an extra boost to human-caused warming.The study in Thursday’s journal Science totals global damage with an emphasis on lasting economic scars.
By SETH BORENSTEIN AP Science WriterWASHINGTON (AP) The natural burst of El Nino warming that changes weather worldwide is far costlier with longerlasting expenses than experts had thought, aver [+5946 chars]