What is El Niño? (With Gifs!)

by Nell Bruckner

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El Niño is technically the warm phase of the “El Niño Southern Oscillation” and is characterized by ocean water that warms in the central pacific, near the western coast of South America. There’s also low air pressure in the Eastern Pacific. The opposite of El Niño is La Niña, associated with unusually cold temperatures and high air pressure in the Eastern Pacific. Both El Niño and La Niña cause temperature and pressure fluctuations and extraordinary rainfall.

 

Why is winter moonlighting as spring?

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The answer is El Niño—and climate change. While El Niño causes the warmer surface temperatures in the Pacific, climate change is what takes El Niño to the extreme. Ocean acidification and rising ocean temperatures make El Niños more frequent and stronger.

 

All the Reasons why El Niño is the absolute worst

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Winter is warmer and drier than normal

Heavy rainfall in the south, southwest, and west coast

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It messes with agriculture and outdoor industries

Climate change directly affects more extreme El Niños and La Niñas

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Fewer Snow Days 😦

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I hope this helped you understand a little more what exactly El Niño is! If you have any questions, you can email me at nbrucker17@hb.edu