. . . But Where Does He Come From? | God's World News

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. . . But Where Does He Come From?
Science Soup
Posted: September 01, 2023
  • 1 What causes El Nino
    In a normal year, winds along Earth’s Equator push warm water to the west toward Indonesia, New Guinea, and Australia.
  • 2 What causes El Nino
    In an El Niño year, winds along Earth’s Equator weaken. Now the warm water flows toward Central and South America.
  • 3 What causes El Nino
    Visitors wear sun hats and carry umbrellas in Beijing, China, on June 29, 2023. The record-setting heat was in part caused by El Niño. (AP/Andy Wong)
  • 4 What causes El Nino
    Jose Cruz carries an empty gas can through receding flood waters outside his house. That was three days after Hurricane Ian hit Fort Myers, Florida, in September 2022. (AP/Rebecca Blackwell)
  • 5 What causes El Nino
    Jude Addo-Chidie collects soil samples from a corn field in Butlerville, Indiana. El Niño’s warmth can mean a good corn crop in the middle of the United States. (AP/Joshua A. Bickel)
  • 1 What causes El Nino
  • 2 What causes El Nino
  • 3 What causes El Nino
  • 4 What causes El Nino
  • 5 What causes El Nino

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Normally, strong winds blow across the tropical Pacific, moving west. They push warm water toward Asia and Australia. Meanwhile, cool water rises to the surface on the west coast of South America. This is called “upwelling.”

That cold water is full of food for itty-bitty organisms called phytoplankton. Phytoplankton gobbles the nutrients. Then fish and other animals eat the phytoplankton.

Meanwhile, the warm Pacific water gets sucked up into clouds. It rains down on Indonesia and New Guinea. The cool air on the other side of the ocean keeps South America drier than usual.

But El Niño puts everything in reverse. That western wind grows weak. Warm waters don’t blow west. Upwelling doesn’t happen normally. Phytoplankton don’t get fed, which means fish go hungry. Warm surface waters cause more rain near Ecuador, Chile, and Peru. Coasts flood. Indonesia and Australia dry out. Everything is backward!

When El Niño shows up, weather gets wild. Will this “little boy” give you a year of beautiful skies? Or will he burn up your crops and then knock down your shed with a hurricane? It all depends on where you live.

El Niño might ruin harvests in Southern Africa. He might dry out Australia so much it crackles with wildfires. On the other hand, he might soak Argentina and Chile with rain. Over the Atlantic, he might break up hurricanes. But in the eastern Pacific, he might cause more storms. His warm waters can harm coral reefs. But if you live in the middle of the United States, El Niño’s warmth might mean a big, fat, juicy corn crop.