2015 El Niño Predicted to Beat Its 1997 Counterpart

By Randy Lertdarapong

Web Editor

Studies are showing this year’s El Niño will be the strongest in history and will not cease throughout the winter.

El Niño is a weather phenomenon that happens between the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere. It influences the weather and temperature all over the world. This famous storm occurs every two to seven years.

The name was coined by fishermen, who first took notice of the phenomenon.

Due to the rising temperature of the Pacific Ocean, it drives away the cold-water fish that are the backbone of the fishing industry in most of Latin America. This event would occur right around Christmas, so the name “El Niño” means “little boy” or “Christ child” in Spanish.

The rising temperatures in the Pacific Ocean are acting as fuel for the storm.

Sea surface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean  were 3.6 degrees higher than average. This is a major contributing factor which hints that this year’s El Niño will most likely break records, according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administrator’s Climate Prediction Center.

This is a good sign for the drought that has ravaged California for four years, but one season of rain won’t fully revive California. The storm is predicted to spread from California to Florida and then up the east coast.

In 1997, the storm left its mark in history, causing many catastrophes ranging from mudslides in California to fires in Australia, not to mention the devastation the storm left behind.

The storm’s atrocious conditions killed an estimated 23,000 people and caused $45 billion in damages, according to CNN.

After the storm, 1998 became the warmest year on record at the time.

The question “does climate change have anything to do with it?” is currently up for debate. According to Nature.com, “the overall number of El Niños is unlikely to increase, the number of ‘super’ El Niños are twice as likely to occur.”

The United Nations claims it has low confidence that climate change will affect El Niño’s in the future, but that doesn’t mean the storms won’t become more severe.