El Nino is having widespread effects throughout the world. Singapore has faced an awful smoke problem, Vietnam has experienced coffee shortages, Africa has had a bad cocoa harvest, Argentinian cows can’t produce milk and California is still hoping for rain.
This year’s El Nino has been one of the worst in recorded history. It has dominated weather patterns and caused distress in much of the world. Nearly every country has been affected in some way, largely due to increasing commodity prices and dangerous weather patterns.
Climate change has caused the El Nino of this year to be particularly bad. While El Nino is not specifically caused by climate change, the warming of the ocean waters has made the weather pattern more intense than usual.
There hasn’t been an El Nino this bad since the 1997-98 season. That year, El Nino brought floods, fires, droughts and other disasters. At least 30,000 people were killed and $100 billion in damage was caused worldwide as a result of El Nino.
Unfortunately, things might ultimately get even worse this year, as experts aren’t expecting the United States to be experiencing the full effects of El Nino until next February. It is unknown how strong the current El Nino will end up being.
Deputy Director of the Climate Prediction Center Mike Halpert said, “It probably sits at No. 2 in terms of how strong this event is, but we won’t be able to rank it until it peaks out and ends.”
The effects of El Nino vary from region to region. Some parts of the world will experience droughts, while others will receive more rain than usual.
Experts in Vietnam say that water levels in many of the country’s reservoirs are down by as much as 67%. There is widespread fear that the country won’t have enough water to grow crops.
Meanwhile, in Southeast Asia, places like Sumatra, Borneo and New Guinea have experienced drought, causing severe forest fires. The smoke from these fires has been plaguing Singapore, and in some cases children have even had to stay home from school.
However, some countries might experience positive effects from El Nino.
In Kenya, an increase in rains from El Nino are likely to bring an increase to next year’s harvest.
Additionally, rain might finally be arriving in California, where widespread fires have long been hurting the area. The entire country will likely be receiving more rain next year from El Nino. However, the rains cannot come quickly enough for California. Even with the benefit of El Nino, the state will undoubtedly still be facing a water deficit.
Also, more rain might be a bad thing for Florida, as the state’s citrus industry could be harmed by excess water. More moisture will allow certain crop diseases to thrive. Some experts expect citrus production in the state to fall to a 52 year low.
Australia will likely face droughts from El Nino. This will hurt crops and possibly lead to fires.
While the effects of El Nino are different for different parts of the world, we can expect future El Nino weather patterns to be even worse unless we can do something about climate change.