El Niño

Jay Park, Staff Reporter


   Brace yourself, the strongest El Niño since the last decade is coming. For us Californians, this could mean several things for us. Rainfall and potential flooding is certainly a few of these possibilities.

   First and foremost, what is the El Niño? Strong Southeast trade winds blow from the East Pacific to the West Pacific. The winds create a Walker Circulation cell that cycles the winds back to the East. The winds blow the warm water from the East to the West and accumulates there. Therefore, the West Pacific is often humid and rainy.

  This creates cold waters stretching from California to South America. In an El Niño, the Southeast trade winds weaken in the process of Southern Oscillation and the warm water is no longer pushed by winds and flows back into the East Pacific, switching the atmospheric pressure patterns. Now the winds blow to the East Pacific and so the area becomes rainy. In approximately a year after the El Niño, things revert to normal. This cycle occurs anywhere around every two to seven years. 🙁

El Niño
El Niño affects South America the most.

  This year, there is a super El Niño with a 95 percent chance that it is heading towards the United States’s West coast. This El Niño ranks third on the all-time list. Climatologists predict it will last through winter and spring. This data is learned from the rising temperatures of Eastern Tropical Pacific. This warmth matches the temperatures of the El Niño of 1977 and 1978, which was the strongest El Niño previously recorded. (Coastal flooding)

  Californian authorities are concerned that the predicted El Niño undermines the efforts for water conservation. Many people believe that this El Niño will stop the drought, but authorities state that it will not end the drought alone.. It is possible the drought will return without our current drought policies and plans. It is necessary for us to continue to conserve water to prevent the drought from worsening.

  Randy Smith, a biology teacher, explained “It’ll help, but not as much as you think. El Niño is generally warmer, so they don’t make as much of a snowpack, which gives a lot of moisture and a lot of rain. So during the year, the snow wouldn’t melt as evenly over spring.”

  Since the rainfall is predicted to be potentially heavy, it is the best to check if all one’s drainage and water systems are fully functional.

  “There is a small hill near my backyard. When it rains, rocks and mud will flow down, so I’m going to have to place some sandbags to stop.” Mr. Smith continued.

  Other things to take advantage of this El Niño is to recycle the water. By preparing a small tub underneath the rain tube, you can collect a steady stream of water. Before doing so, make sure to let the water is not contaminated by letting the first few drops clean the roof and pipes. 

   Because El Niños are such an irregularity, it is best to enjoy them while they last. You can enjoy the rain without worry of being in any danger. Being prepared and safe can be a major factor in this.