Saturday, July 25, 2009

You were right and I was wrong

In a donkeyish manner (with all respect for that species), I once argued with M that El Niňo was a storm in the Pacific a year or so ago. I should have given credit to his knowledge in the realm of natural science. I should have listened to him when he tried to explain that El Niňo was the phenomenon behind that particular storm and a fundamental facet of earth’s global precipitation pattern and atmospheric oscillation. The fishermen of South America’s Pacific coast coined the term when now and then around Christmas they would get large quantities of tropical fish in their net. It is an anomalous warming of surface water, change of predominant wind direction, linked to changes in pressure at sea level (the Southern Oscillation). It became the talk of all when meteorologists reported the links between El Niňo and weather anomalies on other places of the globe. These links are known as teleconnections, a coin termed by the Swedish meteorologist Anders Ångström. Contemporary researchers assert that global warming intensifies the El Niňo events, hence generating more weather anomalies – and extreme weather – elsewhere. Just note the headlines of droughts, floods and storms. “Earth is angry” M said.

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