Patricia, one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded, is being fueled by El Niño, a weather phenomenon that continues to gain strength in the Pacific Ocean, scientists say.
Scientists say the powerful hurricane offers a stark preview of a turbulent weather season to come for Mexico, California and the southern United States. Climate experts say this El Niño could be among the three strongest on record.
“El Niño is high-octane fuel for hurricanes,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.
“A hurricane feeds off warm water, and of course now El Niño has piled up a tremendous volume of warm water in the eastern Pacific, which has fed these hurricanes,” Patzert said.
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