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The ENSO (El Nino) Phenomenon

08/06/2014
    

Introduction

Severe changes in seasonal weather patterns in the Pacific Ocean may reduce the availability of crops and result in climatic events which impact infrastructure. Since there is evidence of an emerging El Nino phenomenon a summary of the causation, development and consequences of the cyclic changes is provided for subscribers to CHICK-CITE. Additional details and updates can be obtained from the NOAA website www.noaa.gov –(insert El Nino  in search feature)  

Background

Advances in meteorology and allied disciplines have increased the precision and reliability of short-term weather forecasts. Only recently has it been possible to predict global weather patterns on a seasonal or annual basis. Remote sensing by weather satellite and the deployment of remotely-operated buoys and weather stations reporting oceanic and atmospheric data have created new opportunities to study weather patterns. Advances in computerized processing of large databases and the development of models with increasing complexity and refinement can correlate predictions with actual climatic events. The purpose of predicting major changes in rainfall pattern and temperature are evident.  These include selection of appropriate crops, provision for enhanced storage and handling of products. Contingency plans for disease outbreaks and disruption of infrastructure can be completed in advance of severe changes in weather patterns in order to reduce their impact.

The severe El Nino event extending through 1997 and 1998 illustrates the global effect of profound weather changes and the various responses that were applied at the international, regional and local levels.  Evidence that a new ENSO event is developing suggests the need to understand the causes, development and consequences of an alteration in weather patterns affecting the Americas, Africa, Australia and parts of Europe.