October 1, 2020

Grothe Discusses El Nino Study with WVTF Radio IQ

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Pamela Grothe, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, discussed the results of her recent study on how El Ninos and La Ninas have intensified in a story on WVTF Radio IQ entitled “VA Scientist Finds Another Reason for Extreme Weather.”

In a study led by Kim Cobb, principal investigator and a professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Grothe, the study’s first author, compared temperature-dependent chemical deposits on recently extracted coral to older coral records showing relevant sea surface temperatures from the past 7,000 years. The researchers discovered that El Ninos and La Ninas have intensified since the beginning of the Industrial Age, becoming 25 percent stronger around the time that people began burning coal and oil.

“The industrial record really sticks out like a sore thumb,” Grothe said. “If you look at the last twenty years – at the intensity of these swings — they are stronger than any 20-year period from the pre-industrial record.”

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