Huge spike in global carbon emissions linked to El Nino
A huge spike in carbon emissions seen in the past couple of years has puzzled scientists, since there was no evidence of a rise in human activities, like fossil fuel burning, that might explain it.
But new satellite data shows that the weather phenomenon El Nino is to blame, because it led to dry spells that put stress on plants and trees across the tropics, and made it harder for them to perform their important role of absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Experts warn that in the coming decades, climate change could lead to even more such warming in the future, as severe droughts and heat waves become more common across the planet.
The 2015-16 El Nino was one of the strongest on record, and led to the biggest increase in annual concentrations of carbon released into the atmosphere in some 2,000 years, according to the NASA-led study published Thursday in the journal Science.