The Mainichi answers some common questions readers may have about abnormal weather that the world saw in 2015.
Question: The year 2015 saw abnormal weather in various places across the world. What kind of damage did this cause?
Answer: There were many instances of abnormally high temperatures in low latitudes near the equator. In India, for example, a heat wave that struck in May and June reportedly left over 2,300 dead, while it was reported that over 1,200 died in Pakistan. In 2015, over 20 cases of abnormal weather are said to have occurred in the world.
Q: Did the El Nino phenomenon we've heard about lately have anything to do with this?
A: The current El Nino phenomenon that began in the summer of 2014 contributed greatly to high temperatures around Indonesia in June, July and September to November, in India between July and November, in the north of South America between May and November, and in Brazil between September and November. In Indonesia, in particular, little rain fell, causing a drought and hindering efforts to extinguish forest fires.
Q: Was the abnormal weather limited to high temperatures?
A: No. Flooding occurred in various countries in South America including Paraguay and Argentina in late December last year as a result of heavy rain, and it is reported that over 100,000 people are living as evacuees. El Nino is supposed to quieten down by this coming summer, but this kind of abnormal weather is apparently due to continue for some time. (Answers by Tomohiko Kano, City News Department)