El Nino is a natural climate phenomenon that will occur regardless of global warming. But when it hits, it displays symptoms that mimic those of long-term climate change.
In Singapore and South-east Asia, El Nino leaves its mark with fire and haze. But across the Pacific Ocean in the Galapagos Islands, El Nino brings rain so intense that the giant tortoises of Darwinian fame can be washed away.
As the seas warm and rainfall patterns change during an El Nino event, they give us a glimpse into what things could be like in a warming world.
The Straits Times visited two archipelagos across the Pacific to document the impacts of this climatic event, and the lessons it can teach us in this era of anthropogenic climate change.
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About Audrey Tan
Audrey Tan is the environment correspondent with The Straits Times. She has written extensively about regional and international environmental issues, from international climate change negotiations at COP24 in Katowice, Poland, to the Day Zero water crisis in Cape Town, South Africa, and the illegal wildlife trade in South-east Asia's notorious Golden Triangle. She graduated from the National University of Singapore with a Bachelor of Social Science (Sociology) and holds a master's degree in climate science and policy from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California.
About Mark Cheong
Mark Cheong has been a photojournalist with The Straits Times since 2012. He picked up the camera as a skateboarder in his late teens while dabbling with black-and-white film at Temasek Polytechnic's School of Design, which was also when he developed his interest in news photography.
During his time at the paper, he has covered everything from football to festivals, and robberies to riots, both locally and regionally.