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El Nino is Brewing Again - Windows to the Universe

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El Nino is Brewing Again
News story originally written on September 19, 1997

El Nino is a disruption in the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific. It has global consequences. When there are El Nino conditions in the Pacific, one can expect weather changes all over the world.

El Nino is thought to happen every 2-7 years. It was first named El Nino (the Spanish term for a boy child) because the conditions first appeared off the coast of South America around Christmas time, the time when the birth of the boy child Jesus is celebrated.

Two Earth-orbiting satellites have just provided convincing evidence that this weather-disrupting phenomenon, El Nino is back and strong. NOAA (the National Oceanic, Atmospheric Administration) has even issued advisories because of these recent satellite findings.

Many scientists and civilians are worried about an El Nino in the future because of what the "El Nino of the Century" brought in 1982-1983. This past El Nino brought increased rainfall to the Southern U.S. and certain countries in South America causing flooding estimated to have cost these countries billions of dollars. To Australia, Africa, and Indonesia it brought severe drought, which caused horrible brush fires. Hopefully, satellites will help scientist make better predictions so future El Ninos are not so devastating.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF