Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

There's trouble in the air. Specifically, in the west coast of the Americas, where the sea surface has been heated to abnormal extremes by an ominous, intermittent flood of hot water called El-Nino. The term. "El-Nino," which means "the child," was originally in reference to a warm current arriving annually during the Christmas season off the coast of Peru and Ecuador. The term was later restricted to the particularly strong periodic warmings that disrupt the local fish and bird populations, and extend westward across the equatorial Pacific Ocean to near the date line. What is an El-Nino? El-Nino is the warming of the Pacific waters that is brought about from time to time by naturally occurring oscillations in atmospheric pressure and ocean movements in th equatorial Pacific. The warmer ocean pumps more energy and moisture into the atmosphere and this in turn alters wind and rainfall patterns around the world.

The atmospheric cirulation also changes when the sea-surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific rise above normal. In normal, non-El Nino conditions, the trade winds blow towards the west across the tropical Pacific. These winds pile up warm water in the west Pacific, so that the sea surface is about 1/2 meter higher at Indonesia than at Ecuador. The sea surface temperature is about 8 degrees C higher in the west, with cool termperatures off South America, dut to an upwelling of cold water from deeper levels. This cold water is nutrient-rich, supporting high levels of primary productivity, diverse marine ecosystems, and major fisheries. Rainfall is found in rising air over the warmest water, and the east Pacific is relatively dry. Warming of the Pacific waters is not the only thing El-Nino is to be blames for. The current El-Nino warming has been so strong, is has added noticeable zip...