El Niño, climate change brewing up trouble
A tropical storm spinning near Madagascar in the Indian Ocean is yet another sign that global warming is driving the world’s climate into untested realms.
Cyclone Fantala is generating 170-mph winds, making it the strongest tropical storm on record for the region, according to NASA. Just a couple of months ago, Cyclone Winston hit Fiji as the strongest storm in the Southwest Pacific, and last October, Patricia became the most potent hurricane on record in the northeast Pacific, with winds up to 215 mph. Patricia also became the strongest-ever Pacific hurricane to make landfall.
Overall, 2015 was also a record-setting season for hurricanes in the eastern Pacific, were 24 named storms (16 hurricanes formed. Eleven of them became major hurricanes. The year also generated record activity in the central Pacific, where 15 tropical cyclones formed or entering the basin.
The past year has been marked by record-warm ocean temperatures, which drove the surge in tropical storms.