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El Nio it was learned is as much an atmospheric event as an oceanic one The winds and the waters communicate with each other halfway around the world Johnson In a normal year the trade winds blow from South America to Asia pushing warm water to the far reaches of the western equatorial Pacific During an El Nio this pool of warm water sloshes across the Pacific to Peru as the normal winds weaken The warmer-than-normal water adds heat and moisture to the air above it creating thunderclouds and a typical storm track with far-reaching effects Johnson El Nio is a mass of warm water now in the southern Pacific It is having a global impact on the weather The warm water increases the water vapor over the Pacific and the Earths normal weather pattern The result heavy rains in the usually dry Southwest and fires in the drought-stricken rain forests of Malaysia Jarvinen El Nio is a seasonal ocean current that flows southward along the coast of northern Peru it is often associated with atmospheric changes Scientists generally refer to El Nio and its related phenomena as the El Nio-Southern Oscillation ENSO The current itself is warm nutrient-poor and relatively low in salinity Its name Spanish the child is derived from its arrival during the Christmas season This current is most well developed from January to March and it usually penetrates only a few degrees south of the equator before converging with the northward-flowing Peru Current El Nio is an extension of the eastward-flowing equatorial countercurrent It turns south along the coast of Ecuador Every four to five years in an only partially understood cycle that appears to incorporate a 2-year subcycle a weakening of normally strong southeasterly trade winds allows the El Nio current to extend farther south Water temperatures rise several degrees above average with catastrophic results Katcher The higher temperature along the coast kills planktonic organisms and fish thus harming
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