Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Learning to Live With ENSO

The bad news is that ENSO is expected to get a helluva lot worse.  The worse news is that nobody really cares.

ENSO, the El Nino Southern Oscillation, is a little something that happens every few years in the southern Pacific Ocean. It manifests in cooling waters on one side and warming waters on the other.  It comes in two forms:  El Nino, the boy (commonly thought of as the Christ Child because it usually shows up around Christmas); and La Nina, the girl, El Nino's nasty step-sister.

ENSO changes weather patterns around the world - Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America, Australia, pretty much the lot.  El Nino, for example, brings scorching heatwaves and drought to Australia.  It can also bring the relief of rain to the American southwest.

As mentioned, ENSO is second only to the changing of seasons in impact on global weather conditions.  A new report forecasts that, not only are ENSO events going to get a lot more severe this century, but we may see La Nina events double in frequency.  That could greatly exacerbate the drought conditions currently besetting Central America and the US southwest.

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