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A study published in the journal Nature finds that civil unrest in tropical countries can be linked to the weather patterns of El Niño and La Niña. The El Niño-Southern Oscillation is a warm and dry weather pattern that heats up more than just the air, apparently.
Mark Cane, a professor of Earth and climate sciences at Columbia University and co-author of the study told The Daily Caller that when people get warm, they get more irritated and more willing to fight.
Conversely, the cooler La Niña, when rainfall tends to be more plentiful leads to a more peaceful time in tropical countries, the study finds. The research in this study has found that rather than just being a link, the outburst of violence is actually partially caused by the weather variations.
“Here we directly associate planetary-scale climate changes with global patterns of civil conflict by examining the dominant interannual mode of the modern climate, the El Niño/Southern Oscillation,” the study says.
It seems that El Niño has a stronger effect on poorer countries, rather than more economically prosperous countries. Irish Weather Online gives the example of Australia: a country affected by ENSO, though they have never experienced a civil war.
The study tracks ENSO throughout history and looks at the corresponding time periods’ and the affected countries’ bouts of unrest. However, Cane says that the unrest is not caused solely by climate and it is not to just be brushed off as what must happen. There are many other factors, such as the economy and politics.
“No one should take this to say that climate is our fate. Rather, this is compelling evidence that it has a measurable influence on how much people fight overall,” Cane said.
At this point, there is skepticism amongst some about a true correlation between the two factors, since more explanation is still required.