In 2001, Ohio State researcher Lonnie Thompson said ice cores in the Himalayas reported that the last 50 years were the warmest in the past 1,000 years, and said their were catastrophic droughts in the past when temperatures were lower.
It has been clear since the 1980s that the 1877-78 El Niño was intense. “Now we have a lot more data,” says Singh. “This event was the strongest El Niño that has occurred since the 1850s.” Sea surface temperatures remained high for 16 months. That makes it bigger than the huge El Niños of 1997-98 and 2015-16. A nexus of impacts But that’s not all. In 1877 a second climate cycle, the Indian Ocean Dipole, was active – meaning the western Indian Ocean was warmer than the east. This typically weakens India’s monsoons. “It was the strongest Indian Ocean Dipole on record,” says Singh. The Atlantic Ocean was also unusually warm from 1877 to 1879. “Following the El Niño, it peaked to the most extreme temperatures on record,” says Singh.
This came at the peak of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.
New South Wales’ all-time record temperature of 127F occurred on January 17, 1877.
There was no winter in Minnesota that year.
In 1974, NOAA said global cooling was reducing the reliability of monsoons in India.
Darwin was destroyed by Cyclone Tracy that year.
Northeast Australia turned into an inland sea due to record rainfall and flooding.
The US had its worst tornado outbreak on record.