Persistent effect of El Niño on global economic growth

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Christopher Callahan, Justin Mankin


El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) shapes extreme weather globally, causing myriad socioeconomic impacts. But whether economies recover from ENSO events and how changes to ENSO from anthropogenic forcing will affect the global economy are unknown. Here we show that El Niño persistently reduces country-level economic growth, attributing $4.9T and $7.4T in global income losses to the 1982-83 and 1997-98 El Niños, respectively. Increases in ENSO amplitude and teleconnections from warming cause $374T in discounted global losses over the 21st century in a middle-of-the-road emissions scenario, but these effects are shaped by stochastic variation in the future sequence of El Niño and La Niña events. Our results highlight both the sensitivity of the economy to climate variability independent of warming and the possibility of future growth reductions due to anthropogenic intensification of such variability.



Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Social and Behavioral Sciences



Published: 2022-12-01 17:04

Last Updated: 2022-12-02 01:04


CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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Data Availability (Reason not available):
All data and code that support of this study will be made available upon publication at

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