What is going on? Last weekend here in Chapel Hill it was 70 degrees. Now we have a light, but sticky, covering of snow on the ground. Is this extreme weather related to Global Warming? Is this the effect of a El NiÃ±o on Global Warming?
One respected climate scientist who has gone out on a limb about the global warming-El NiÃ±o connection is Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. He thinks that El NiÃ±o may function as a kind of pressure release valve on the tropics. In an era of global warming, Trenberth says, ocean currents and weather systems might not be able to bleed off all the heat pumped into the tropical seas. Periodically, it has to get rid of the excess that builds up, he suggests, and that safety valve is El NiÃ±o.