According to American scientists El Niño has begun, but the effect is still weak. Australian researchers consider that this weather phenomenon will have a ‘substantial’ impact this year. During the first few months of last year there was also a threat of El Niño, but it did not come to full force. It is difficult to predict if the current situation will further develop into a ‘real’ El Niño, but the consequences could be significant. A new warning is in place.


“According to forecasters, the long anticipated El Niño has finally arrived,” wrote the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) on their website in March. According to the report, the El Niño was still weak, so the effects have been somewhat limited. “Certain weather aspects, that are associated with El Niño, may occur this spring in parts of the northern hemisphere, such as increased rainfall along the U.S. Gulf Coast.”

El Niño is a regular weather change that occurs once every two to seven years, and is associated with warmer water in the Pacific Ocean. Normally during El Niño a trade wind blowing from South America towards Oceania and Southeast Asia occurs. Because of this, cold ocean water arrives on South American coasts. During an El Niño, the wind changes and warm ocean water from Asia spreads across the Pacific Ocean. There are various weather changes that occur worldwide when this phenomenon is in effect.

During a presentation in Germany Fred G. Harmsen van der Vliet from Harmsen & Partners summed up the expected effect of El Niño: “Drought and weather changes due to El Niño can cause hunger in the highlands of Papua New Guinea and water shortages in Java.” Furthermore we could see drought in Northeast Brazil, Southeast Africa, the Western Pacific, Pakistan and Northwest India. Changes in ocean currents and warmer ocean water, the beginnings of El Niño, have already disrupted fish migrations. El Niño also means lower yields for the agricultural sector.

In addition, there is a higher chance of strong tornado’s around Japan and South Korea. In South America El Niño means more rain, in North America there is less chance of hurricanes and Europe can face colder winters. The exact impact of an El Niño is difficult to predict. The fruit and vegetable sector in Latin America declared that last year they had unusual El Niño weather conditions.