Strongest El Niño in History


2016 could be a year with the strongest El Niño since weather recordings started. Climatologists say that the Pacific Ocean is currently warming up very quickly. As a result, this year's El Niño event may be the strongest in history.

In the past year extreme weather swept across the whole world. Large areas of eastern Africa are witnessing droughts that may result in widespread food shortages. Dry weather and brushfires hit Indonesia and New Guinea. Floods did much damage to the northern U.K. in December and January. The worst flooding in half a century hit Argentina and Paraguay.

In the United States extreme weather brought tornadoes to the southern states. The north-eastern coast experienced warm and dry weather while the southern parts were wetter and cooler.In general, this year's winter across the northern hemisphere could be the mildest on record.

Scientists think that the worst of El Niño is yet to come. The biggest impact is expected to occur in the first half of 2016. It may even compare to the El Niño event that hit the world in 1997 and 1998.



El Nino is the warming of surface water in the eastern Pacific Ocean along the equator. In normal years cold surface water from the Antarctic region moves along the west coast of South America. During an El Niño event, which occurs every two to seven years, the water temperature of the Pacific Ocean can rise by 4 degrees Celsius. Warm air rises and changes wind patterns across the whole Pacific.



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  • as a result = that is why
  • brushfire = fires that hit small bushes and trees
  • compare = be like
  • century = a hundred years
  • climatologist = a person who studies climate and the weather
  • currently = at the moment
  • damage = when something is destroyed
  • drought = long period of very dry weather with little or no rainfall
  • equator= line that goes around the middle of the earth
  • experience = here: something happens
  • flooding = when land becomes covered with water because of heavy rainfall
  • hemisphere = half of the world north or south of the equator
  • impact = the power or force with which something happens
  • in general = here: for most areas
  • occur = happen
  • recording = writing down information that you can look at later on
  • rise = go up
  • shortage = not enough of something
  • surface = the top part of something
  • sweep - swept = move quickly
  • widespread = in many places
  • wind patterns = the way winds travel in a larger area
  • witness = to see something happen
  • yet = here: will still