What are the major characteristics of El Nino that reappear with its every cycle? Examine the impacts of El Nino on regional climate, ecosystems and human activities with reference to (1) Australia (2) California

The following are the major characteristics of El Nino that reappear with its every cycle-

  • Anomalous warming of surface water.
  • Is a warm southward flowing current off the coast of Peru.
  • Involves sea surface temperature increases in the eastern and central Pacific.
  • Appears on the off coast of Equador and Northern Peru.
  • Is linked to changes in pressure at sea level. (Southern Oscillation).
  • Accompanies a slackening of westward –flowing equatorial trade winds.
  • Recurs but not at regular intervals.
  • Returns around Christmas time.
  • Lasts between 12 and 18 months.

The impacts of El Nino in Australia are-

  • Reduced rainfall
  • Warmer temperatures
  • Shift in temperature extremes
  • Increased frost risk
  • Reduced tropical cyclone numbers
  • Later monsoon onset
  • Increased fire danger in southeast Australia
  • Decreased alpine snow depths
  • Australia undergoes drought and therefore its economy gets affected too.
  • There is a decrease in wheat productions, and the continuation of the drought would impact the global prices in the world market.

The impacts of El Nino in California are-

  • California benefits from the increased rainfall and is relieved from severe drought.
  • Wetter conditions in the US will lead to higher corn yields
  • Storms, flooding, and landslides in Southern California
  • It can cause negative impacts as crops, such as tomatoes and almonds may be destroyed due to the rainstorms and floods, which could increase food prices consequently.


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