El Niño Facts

El Niño Facts
El Nino is a climate pattern that causes extreme weather conditions. El Nino occurs when there is large-scale warming of the surface of the Pacific Ocean, which can cause droughts, floods and even fishing and agriculture issues as its warm waters move east. El Nino lasts for anywhere from nine months to two years, and it occurs approximately every two to seven years. It was observed as long ago as the 1600s, however it wasn't until the end of the 1800s that more serious study of this phenomena began. It wasn't until the 1950s that the connection between El Nino and the Southern Oscillation (similar climate changes) was made. Since 1975 both El Nino and the Southern Oscillation have been jointly researched.
Interesting El Niño Facts:
Contrary to popular belief, global warming did not cause El Nino. It is a natural climate change that occurs as semi-regular intervals.
El Nino is Spanish for Christ Child, and it was named this because El Nino usually begins to appear around the Christmas season.
When El Nino occurs, there is a lot of disruption of sea life, especially in coastal regions. This often has negative effects for the livelihood of many fishermen.
In 1982-83, and in 1997-98, we experienced the strongest El Nino effects in the 1900s. Australia suffered its worst drought of the century and there were very strong storm systems in the SW United States.
El Nino has been responsible for floods, droughts, thunderstorms, extreme rainfall, milder Canadian winters, lowered cyclone and hurricane activity, and dryer-than-normal monsoons.
During El Nino, the United States experiences wetter and cooler weather.
During El Nino, California experiences wetter weather.
El Nino can be predicted with two major different systems, either the hydrodynamic coupled ocean-atmosphere model, or with statistical models.
Mark Cane and Steve Zebiak were the first to successfully predict El Nino. They were using an intermediate ocean-atmosphere coupled model that they developed.
El Nino occurs when the tropical Pacific waters are warmer than normal, while La Nina refers to when the tropical Pacific waters are colder than normal.
Nobody is quite sure why El Nino occurs or why it occurs in a regular cycle every three to seven years or so. Scientists have determined the effects El Nino has around the world, but not what causes it in the first place.
Cycles of disease outbreaks have been linked to the El Nino cycle. Some of these diseases that seem to be linked to events caused by El Nino include malaria, dengue, Rift Valley fever and Australian encephalitis. These are all linked to higher rainfall and flooding, as they are all transmitted by mosquitos, which thrive in wet areas.
The food supply for sea mammals, birds and fish is disrupted by El Nino.
Both El Nino and La Nina have the ability to change the climate across more than 50% of the earth. They are the most powerful earth phenomena.
Some people believe that El Nino occurs as the result of underwater volcanoes in the Pacific Ocean, however there is no proof or definitive cause known as of yet.

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