El Niño has officially begun. Here's what that means for the U.S.

Early morning hikers rest before walking down Piestewa Peak, a city park in Phoenix, Ariz. El Niño drives even hotter, drier weather in the Southwest United States, on top of growing heat risk from human-caused climate change. El Niño is officially here, and that means things are about to get even hotter. The natural climate phenomenon is marked by warmer ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, which drives hotter weather around the world.

“[El Niño] could lead to new records for temperatures,” says Michelle L’Heureux, a climate scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.

The hottest years […]

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By Donato