2015 El Nino
The sea surface temperature departure is seen in an undated NOAA image released October 9, 2015. El Nino is strengthening and likely to peak in late fall or early winter, and gradually weaken through spring 2016, according to a NOAA news release. Reuters

If the destructive powers of El Niño weren’t enough, a new research suggests that clouds double the power of the phenomenon that poses an even greater threat to mankind.

The shocking discovery was made by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology. It comes on the heels of NASA's warning that the "weather chaos" of 2015 will be a continuing occurence in 2016.

“Clouds act as a blanket and further warm the atmosphere,” said a spokesman at the Institute, reports the Express. More than half the strength of El Niño and La Niña events can be attributed to the influence of clouds on atmospheric circulation, suggest the research findings, published in the Nature Geoscience journal.

While El Niño, which means “The Child,” is said to be responsible for extreme weather events including recent floods as well as tornadoes and freezing conditions in the UK and the US, La Niña is an opposite weather pattern.

According to the spokesman, the latest discovery indicates that cloud dynamics could be incorporated into climate models to improve the understanding of the response of El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to climate change. “ENSO is the most significant source of weather variability on timescales of three to seven years,” he added.

The discovery comes as the US begins preparing itself for extraordinary weather conditions as a result of the El Niño system in the Pacific Ocean. Flash floods and mud flows are expected to hit various parts of the US due to these weather conditions, reports the BBC.

NASA recently warned that the US is expected to feel the impact of the El Niño, which has already created chaos around the world. The El Niño phenomenon has already triggered major floods across South America. Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have experienced the worst floods in 50 years.