There is a 90 percent chance that a global El Niño will hit in 2014, The Guardian reports. An El Niño starts as a huge pool of warm water swelling in the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean, a phenomenon that triggers weather events around the world. It's not clear what makes the unstable Pacific Ocean-atmosphere system turn into an El Niño, but weaker trade winds that blow to the west are a key component.
In India, under El Niño conditions, it's likely that weaker monsoon rains will cause problems for the country's food supply, while Australia will probably see soaring temperatures and droughts. It's not all disastrous, though: The western half of the United States could see the rain that is so desperately needs.
This El Niño is being predicted by the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts, which The Guardian says is considered one of the most reliable prediction centers. Principle scientist Tim Stockdale says it's "very much odds-on for an event" because of the high level of warm water in the Pacific, but "what is very much unknowable at this stage is whether this year's El Niño will be a small event, a moderate event — that's most likely — or a really major event."
The last major El Niño hit in 1997 and 1998, and about 23,000 people were killed worldwide due to droughts, cyclones, floods, and wildfires. Read more about the impact of an El Niño, especially on countries like India and Australia, at The Guardian. Catherine Garcia
Don't panic, but Twitter might shake up your reverse chronological feed as soon as next week, BuzzFeed News reported Friday. They're already testing a new feature — an algorithm designed to put tweets you want to see near the top of your feed — with a small number of users.
There's reason to believe the switch, which would look a lot like your Facebook feed's out-of-order posts, will be optional:
Sources at Twitter tell me algorithms are strictly opt in.
— Josh Sternberg (@joshsternberg) February 6, 2016
Twitter declined to comment on feed changes. Julie Kliegman
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) is in the middle of dealing with a crisis in Flint, where lead pipes have contaminated the drinking water. While addressing a grave concern in an impoverished city, Snyder celebrated his wife's birthday with quite an upscale-looking cake from an Ann Arbor bakery, MLive reports:
— Liz Day (@LizDDay) February 6, 2016
Interesting choice of optics. Julie Kliegman
MSNBC pundit Melissa Harris-Perry called out the Democratic Party on Saturday for a lack of diversity in an "anemic" candidate pool.
"I would argue that for me, Thursday night, watching Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders — we are in New Hampshire — and our party is so anemic. We are down to two candidates, right?" Harris-Perry said. "Say what you want to say about the mad house going on on the Republican side."
For Harris-Perry, the primary field bears some resemblance to a certain other much talked about national event: "It's whiter than the Oscars up in here." Julie Kliegman
You may or may not be excited for football, but chances are you're pretty amped about the food associated with Super Bowl Sunday.
Here are some striking numbers courtesy of ABC News regarding what U.S. viewers are expected to wolf down as the Denver Broncos face the Carolina Panthers:
12 million — Americans watching from restaurants and bars
48 million — takeout and deliver orders
139.4 million — pounds of avocados
1.3 billion — chicken wings, a 3 percent increase over 2015
$15.5 billion — total Super Bowl spending
Happy eating. Julie Kliegman
Saturday would've marked Babe Ruth's 121st birthday. To honor The Great Bambino, relive the glory of his first-ever New York Times profile. It's from way back in 1915, and it has some real gems:
— NYT Archives (@NYTArchives) February 6, 2016
The paper of record described the soon-to-be-record-setting slugger as "peculiar" and "built like a bale of cotton."
"What the Yanks evidently need are some peculiar left-handed pitchers," the profile went on to say, to counter Ruth, who then pitched for the rival Boston Red Sox.
Either that, or perhaps they just needed to make the trade of the century. Julie Kliegman
As the Syrian government works to cut off Aleppo's rebel supply route from Turkey, foreign intervention is not welcome, Foreign Minister Walid-al-Moallem warned Saturday, The Associated Press reports.
"Any ground intervention in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government will be considered an aggression that should be resisted by every Syrian citizen," he said. "I regret to say that they will return home in wooden coffins."
Saudi Arabia recently said it would send troops as part of a U.S.-led coalition to fight Islamic State extremists, who control parts of Syria. The United Nations suspended peace talks Wednesday as conflict near Aleppo ramped up. Julie Kliegman
At least 13 people died and hundreds more were injured in a 6.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Taiwan on Saturday, The Associated Press reports.
Rescuers saved hundreds of people from buildings and were still trying to reach others. Dozens of people are reportedly unaccounted for, CNN reports.
The high-rise residential building that collapsed in the 4 a.m. quake included a care center for newborn babies. One 10-day-old baby was reportedly among the dead. Julie Kliegman