Friday, May 24, 2013

Module #21

Using the internet, you are to research the effects of El Nino or La Nina on a specific region of the earth. 
  1. Research an El Nino or La Nina event that has occurred somewhere in the world.
  2. Using a specific year, describe how El Nino or La Nina changed the normal weather conditions in the region.
  3. Use actual data to prove your points.
  4. Include human, economic and environmental costs when researching the affects of the weather changes.
  5. What can humans do to prepare themselves for this cyclical event?
  6. How can El Nino or La Nina events be predicted in the future?


  1. El Nino is an air mass of warm ocean currents that form off of the Coast of South America and have severe weather and climate impacts on the land. An El Nino that has occurred somewhere in the world was in January 1998 which was famous because it is known to be the cause for the ice storms which created devastating affects to Southern Ontario and Quebec. This El Nino changed the weather because it brought an unusual warm front into Canada which battled the cold front and created such extreme weather. This storm produced 5 inches of freezing rain within 6 days which created a shocking 6 billion dollars worth of damage. The affect of this storm clearly impacted humans and the economy by closing down work for hundreds of thousands of Canadians, deploying over 16,000 Canadian troops for help, and killing many people. The best way to prepare for El Nino is to be fully equipped with essentials in your home under the emergency that you cannot leave. El Nino can be predicted in the future from satellite images and from historical patterns of the storm. In conclusion El Nino is an inevitable dangerous storm with severe affects.

  2. A La Nina event which has caused recent destruction was during the 2010-2011 Queensland Floods. The La Nina event, where the Western Pacific Region is hit with heavy rain, combined alongside Cyclone Tasha caused record high rainfall for December in Queensland by over 150%. Scientists also believe to coincide the cyclone and La Nina event, the waters along the coast of Australia were abnormally warmer than usual, causing additional evaporation, only exacerbating things more. By the end of December, these factors all caused floods along Queensland, Australia, killing 38 and leaving 6 missing. The floods also caused an estimated $2.38 billion Australian dollars in dept. The La Nina can strongly affect weather in certain regions, causing damage. The best way to prepare is to make sure your property is best prepared for any flooding, and to be aware of what to do in case a flood happens near you. The La Nina can be predicted through satellites, which can help the people possibly being effected by it to keep an eye out and become prepared for any issues arising from it.

  3. The El Nino of 1997 occurred in the spring months of that year. At the very beginning of the El Nino, buoys off of the coast of Peru (which had been placed there after the 1982 El Nino) began to record record-high temperatures. As the months continued to go by, it quickly became evident that this particular El Nino was the largest in more than 50 years of recording.

    At the time, this particular El Nino, due to the sheer scale of it, had a major effect on the Earth’s overall climate. At the time, it had been recorded that the estimated average surface temperature for land and sea worldwide was 0.8°F higher than the 1961-1990 average of 61.7°F. The effects on the climate were also felt in smaller, more specific regions as well: droughts occurred in the Western Pacific Islands, Mexico, and Indonesia; Southern California experienced extreme rain and severe landsliding; uncontrollable forest fires and floods began in Indonesia; corals in the Pacific Ocean were bleached by warm currents.

    The overall costs of such large events as El Ninos and La Ninas are extremely hard to tally. In the United States, during the events of the ‘97 El Nino, the total economic impact was said to be an estimated $25 billion: department sales were up 5% to 15%; snow equipment sales were down 35%; businesses saved $2 - 7 billion in heating costs; energy production and distribution suffered from decreased sales; property losses (i.e. crops) totalled $2.6 billion.

    El Ninos and La Nina’s are, unlike Tornadoes, predictable. Scientists are able to use temperature-sensitive buoys, as well as thermal satellites, to determine weather patterns in the tropical oceans and atmosphere. By closely monitoring the tropics, scientists are able to give fair warning at approaching El Nino or La Nina phenomenons. However, it is also extremely important to prepare for the upcoming shifts in weather to minimize the damage caused by such events. To prepare, one must keep many emergency non-refrigerated provisions (i.e. canned foods, flashlights, batteries, bottled water, etc...) in the weeks leading up to the El Nino/La Nina, as with the El Nino/La Nina, the power may go out and much flooding and/or landsliding may decrease neighbourhood mobility and prevent one from seeking out help and extra provisions.


  4. The 1982-83 El Niño was the strongest and most devastating of the century, perhaps the worst in recorded history. During that period, trade winds not only collapsed-they reversed direction. Its effects were long lasting as well. It caused weather-related disasters on almost every continent. Australia, Africa, and Indonesia suffered droughts, dust storms, and bush fires. Peru was hit with the heaviest rainfall in recorded history-11 feet in areas where 6 inches was the norm. California had very high rainfall and the year was characterized by extensive flooding and landsliding. The event was blamed for nearly 2,000 deaths and more than $13 billion in damage to property and livelihoods. During this period, the thermocline off the South American coast dropped to about 500 feet. On September 24, in just 24 hours, sea-surface temperatures along a coastal village in Peru shot up 7.2 degrees F.

    The best way to be prepared is to prepare beforehand, a pack of essentials that will aid you while you endure your new temporary climate change.

    To predict an El Nino they monitor ocean temperatures carefully with network buoys. Atmospheric conditions are also obtained from satellites, some buoys, and radiosondes. The data is then ran through supper-computers, which models the future state of the atmosphere of the ocean.

  5. La Nina is a cooling of the ocean surface off the western coast of South America, occurring periodically every 4 to 12 years and affecting Pacific and other weather patterns. La Niña was recently spotted in 2010 in Queensland, Australia. It contributed to the deluge in Australia, which resulted in one of that country's worst natural disasters as it left much of Queensland underwater. This caused Australia's precipitation level to rise by over 150%, as well as warm all the waters surrounding the country. This tragedy killed approximately 38 people, as well as put Australia in debt $2.4 billion. The best thing to do to prepare for another La Niña is to design your house so that no water can get in. Maybe build trenches around your house or have some sort of strong structure protecting your house. La Niña's can be predicted by satellites, a few daysin advance. This is a huge benefit, as humans can now prepare for the nearest arising La Niña.

  6. Drought in East Africa Also Due to La Nina

    La Nina’s effects are confined to the Americas. Rainfall is shifted to the south-west, into Australia as well as Indonesia and southern Asia. This leaves less rain for the eastern African countries of Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and especially somalia.There, the wet season normally lasts three months, ending in December. By the summer of 2011, a drought will have lasted two years, affecting both crops and forage for livestock. Air pressure is unusually high over the west coast of South America and low over Eastern Australia. As warm water is pushed westwards sea levels rise by up to 1m. Around Indonesia and Philippines. Strong uplift of air leads to heavy rain. Global climate La Nina impacts tend to be opposite those of El Nino impacts.La Nina brings stormier, wetter weather. Monsoon, flooding, active typhoon and hurricane seasons and earlier, heavier snowfall and lower temperatures in northern countries. La Nina is part of what makes our planet active, weather wise. But, La Nina’s have been becoming more few and far between in recent years which brings us to our next section.





  7. El Niño is a band of warm water temperatures that develop off the coast of South America which can cause severe damage to the pacific ocean and coastal lands. The Southern Oscillation is the component of El Niño that oscillates the air pressure between the tropical and Pacific Ocean water bodies. The most recent El Niño event was in the spring of 1997. The results of El Niño in California was a change in regular winter weather conditions that lasted for 15 years. It all started with six consecutive dry winters lasting from 1986 to 1991, a very wet winter in 1992, another dry winter in 1993, and then four wet winters from 1994 to 1997.


  8. In 1982-1983 and El Nino event occurred. El Nino is an event that occurs every few years and results in unusual and extreme weather conditions worldwide. This El Nino event had devastating consequences in many parts of the world.

    Strange weather events happened all over the world because of El Nino in 1982. In Colombia there was flooding, in Australia there was a severe drought and in North America there was exceptionally hot and dry summers. This event caused sea levels in the east to rise and caused the sea levels in the west to drop. Also the sea temperatures in the Galapagos Islands and along the coast of Ecuador increased from temperatures in the low 70s to temperatures in the 80s. The change in earth's process lead changes in animal behaviour. Some sea birds abandoned their young in search of food and some fish species migrated in order to survive.

    This event was harmful to many economies as well. The fishing industry was severely affected due to the change in the patterns of fish. Two countries that were hit hard were Ecuador and Peru. It also lead to droughts and flooding. Both of these can be costly to recover from. It is estimated that the damage to the world economy is 8 billion dollars.

    Predicting El Nino can be attempted using tools such as climate model and seasonal forecasting models. Since these events can often be predicted it is possible for humans to prepare for these events in the similar ways that they would prepare for other natural disasters.


  9. El Nino refers to a pattern characterized by the tropical Pacific’s warmest water spreading eastward to the coast of South America. The largest El Nino of this century occurred from October 1982 through June 1983. This happened in the Galapagos and is estimated to have caused more than US$10 billion in weather-related damage worldwide.

    This El Nino indirectly affected the U.S with heavy rains and mountain snows in California, a below-average snow season for the northern and north-eastern U.S. ski resorts, as well as below normal hurricane and tropical storm activity in the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. It also caused much economic damage. Fishing industries in Peru and Ecuador suffered heavily when the fish moved into Chilean waters.

    To prepare for an El Nino, local governments and coastal property owners should undertake common sense inspections of their property to identify prudent maintenance activities to minimize potential storm damage. Mostly though, people just need to be aware of El Nino's and the potential threats they pose.


  10. A major El Nino event occured through the years of 1997 and 1998. This El Nino had major effects on Peru and the surrounding areas when a pool of seawater the size of Canada warmed up to temperatures as high as the ones from the 1982-83 El Nino, allowing scientists to partially predict the events. The El Nino brought high amounts of precipitation to areas of Peru, in some areas 5 to 6 inches a day. When one of the main rivers broke its banks in February of 1998 the surrounding areas flooded,causing many families to flee quickly as the water continually rose, destroying their homes. Many if not all posesions were lost, leaving many people with nothing, and inmany communities leaving people stranded on roofs for days. The continual flooding eventually created Lake Chinchaychoca, Peru's second largest lake. On the other hand, in surrounding areas that were usually used to precipitation, a large drought was being faced causing extensive forest fires. Overall this El Nino caused changes to weather and climate patterns worldwide, resulting in 2,100 deaths and causing $33 billion (USD) in property damage across the world. To be prepared in the future, residents should prepare supplies when early signs of an El Nino occur sso they are not left stranded, with no food. Scientists are now able to predict El Nino's through satellites, but they can also predict them through characteristics of previous events.


  11. A major El Niño event occurred in the tropical Pacific in 1997 and 1998. As the strongest of its type on record, it received high levels of media attention and affected a great deal of areas throughout the region. It developed much more rapidly than any such El Niño in the past 40 years, resulting in little preparation by the inhabitants of the affected areas. Major fires and a heavy smog cloud in Indonesia were credited to the El Niño, as were severe droughts in the Western Pacific Islands, Mexico, and parts of Central America.

    The El Niño caused record flooding in Chile, resulting In 17 deaths, 1.5 billion dollars in damage, and 129,000 people were rendered homeless. 90 km per hour winds ripped apart housing and bridges, and displaced animals from their natural habitats. There was a great deal of contamination of fresh water supplies, resulting in problems for all forms of life.

    The fishing economy was severely affected as fish were often washed ashore and ecosystems were damaged making sustainable exploitation virtually impossible. This led to unemployment and money issues throughout the industry. High amounts of precipitation meant that plants were essentially drowned out and housing was compromised.

    Scientists are able to use a variety of different methods and technologies to detect El Niño and El Nina events, including sea level analysis, satellites, diverse types of buoys, and large computer sensors and simulations. It is important to retrieve data and track the movements and patterns of these phenomena so that preparations can be made, such as evacuations, reinforcements, and general awareness and protocols can be out in place.

  12. Research an El Nino or La Nina event that has occurred somewhere in the world.
    In Lima, the capital city of Peru, La Nina struck hard. In late July, 2010, La Nina hit the east side of Peru with a freezing vengeance. Lima is usually a solid 13-15 degrees Celsius on average with humidity making it feel like 20-25 degrees and it has never dropped so low in over 40 years. This year, the temperature dropped to almost 8 degrees Celsius! Which caught the inhabitants off guard and many became ill. Percy Mosca of the Peruvian department of meteorology and hydrology, "the cold is made worse by the unusually strong winds in the region, as well as high humidity of more than 80% and sometimes even 95%". This is a drastic change and citizens claimed that "it is so cold your bones ache". Many of these people were not ready for such a cold front, their houses weren't insulated properly as they were made of plywood and they didn't have the proper clothing to keep warm. At this time they had to start vaccinations in the city instead of just up near the Andes. Throughout the years 250 children have died due to the overwhelming La Nina phenomenon. Most of which from pneumonia or respiratory diseases. In order to prepare for this cyclical event, the people of Lima should better insulate their homes and have heating systems installed. There is no true way to predict when La Nina will strike unless you can monitor the wind directions and ocean currents, but winds can be extremely unpredictable, just as tornadoes are. People of the regions that have already been affected by it should be more prepared as it could happen to them again.


  13. In 2003 El Nino caused major flooding on the coasts of Peru. The flooding killed 18 people and destroyed more than 6,000 houses, leaving many more homeless. It caused property damage in the tens of millions and affected the lives of almost 60,000 people. Heavy rain from the west coast of South America led tp this extensive flooding. The torrents of water have destroyed many crops in the country as well, causing a butterfly effect that hurt many people. The water also attracts malaria-carrying mosquitoes, a huge danger to the population. The government had been preparing for an El Nino event, so it surprised many people that the flooding caught them off guard. It is important that evacuation plans and early warning systems are put in place in case El Nino strikes Peru again.