Last year was the hottest year on record since 1880, when official record keeping started. However, as summer draws to a close, it looks like 2015 is going to surpass last year record-breaking temperatures. Many scientists are looking at global warming as a factor in this increasing heat, which raises concerns for the future as energy consumption worldwide increases. This record-heat is especially concerning for those countries off the Pacific. El Niño—which means the boy in Spanish—is the warm phase of ocean water in the Pacific that usually happens naturally around Christmas time and results in increased rainfall and tropical storms. While the western part of the US is in a drought and would benefit from rainfall, the storms that accompany El Niño can cause flooding and mudslides, which leads to death, injury, and damage to homes and businesses in some cases. El Niño happens every few years, but combined with the record-breaking heat of the past few years, could cause unprecedented damage this year.
Contributor: Jennifer Pulido