El Nino: The reasons behind

We might see the name El Nino appearing now and then in weather related reports in the newspapers. It is a change occurring in the Pacific Ocean, resulting sometimes in abnormal warming of the ocean water. Why would a change happening in the Pacific Ocean appear in newspapers of all parts of the world? Because this change affects the weather conditions all over the globe.

 

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The Pacific Ocean is the world’s largest ocean lying between North and South America in the east, Asia and Australia in the west, Antarctica in the south. It is divided at the equator as north and south pacific. Normally the tropical Eastern Pacific (extending along the Pacific Coast of the Americas from the southern tip in the north to northern Peru in the south) receives lot of sun’s heat, making the surface water warm. The warm surface water is carried from east to west by the trade winds. The push of the warm water towards Australia and Indonesia allows the deeper cold water to rise up. The cold water carries lot of rich food for the marine organisms than the warm water.

 

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This cycle of movement of surface water carried by the trade winds is affected when El Nino condition occurs. The trade winds get weak or may even blow in the opposite direction (west to east). This causes piling up of warm water near the west coast of South America and cold water remains deep. The warm water causes more rains in some parts and drought in some parts.

 

The extensive warming of the central and eastern Pacific causes lot of changes across the weather pattern all around the globe, affecting fishing business in some regions. El Nino causes extensive rainfall and floods in few parts of US and Peru. Though it causes havoc in many regions, it helps prevent development of hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.

 

 

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Scientists are yet to find out as to how El Nino develops.  ‘El Nino’ is always referred to as ‘Christ’s Child’. This is because though it occurs occasionally it happens only during Christmas time. 

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