2016 Apr

El Niño Part 2

April 13, 2016

El nino2

The previous article dealt with the chain of events that take place in the pacific ocean that leads to gradient of temperature between the eastern an western sides of the ocean in the tropical region. These chain of events happen under normal circumstances and a disturbance to these events can have catastrophic effects. One such disturbance is termed as El Niño. El Niño, being a catastrophic phenomenon, affects the weather patterns in the regions west of pacific and the effects are not confined. The repercussions of El Niño can be felt as far as Europe. Technically speaking El Niño is a threat anyone anywhere on the globe. Let’s discuss El Niño and its global impact in this article.

The trade winds in the pacific ocean initiate a process that eventually lead to the aforementioned temperature gradient. When the intensity of these trade winds is not up to the mark the warm water from the eastern side doesn’t get drifted to west. As discussed in the earlier article, this drifting of warm water from one end to other leads to surfacing of cold water from the bottom layer.

The absence of drifting means the cold water doesn’t reach the surface of the ocean. As a result the temperature of the ocean on the east side remains warm. On the west side, due to the lack of piling up of warm water, the evaporation rate is affected and eventually formation of clouds. Since the clouds that are formed during the evaporation process, on west side of the ocean, form major source of rain in the southeast asian countries, these regions face low rainfall effects. As we have learnt during our H2 Physics tuition classes, cold water being denser, will sink. The water circulation pattern where cold water from the bottom reaches the surface due to drifting of warm water is affected during an El Niño event. This results in an increase in the temperature of the ocean surface and eventually a rise average surface temperature of the planet.

The highest average surface temperature in the recorded history is noted in the year 2015 and is a result of El Niño. The world is now connected by trade network that encompasses all forms of trade and business. A drought in India can have impact on the sales of a particular type of product manufactured in Europe. The affected company in the process can potentially opt for job cuts. Although its a hypothetical example, such a thing is not too far from reality.

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