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Understanding El Niño

Several countries in South America, such as Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina, are experiencing severe floods that already took away thousands of lives and properties worth millions of dollars. Many had to abandon their homes and evacuate to safer areas. This situation is caused by continuous heavy rains brought by what the United Nation’s World Meteorological Organization calls, “the worst El Niño phenomenon in more than 15 years.”

The El Niño phenomenon is an undesired climate cycle that usually starts during the month of December and lasts for a couple of months. It causes drought, floods, heat waves, cold seasons and spikes in global temperature. El Niño affects global weather patterns and its consequences may vary in every country.

In a normal climate cycle, without the El Niño phenomenon, trade winds move the warm water of the Pacific Ocean towards the west and pile the warm water along the coast of Asia and Australia. This causes the formation of rain clouds that brings the normal amount of rainfall to the equatorial Pacific Ocean region. This is a self-perpetuating cycle that contributes to the normal weather patterns of different countries.

However, during an El Niño phenomenon, trade winds are not able to fully push warm Pacific water to the west, which leads to an abnormal distribution in water temperature in the Pacific Ocean. Warm water moves to the east which brings a lot of rainfall to America and other neighboring countries. This explains the excessive rainfall and floods in South American countries.

Also, less warm water is also pushed to the west hence lessening rainfall in Australia and many countries in Asia and Australia. The decrease in rainfall causes drought and heat waves. This explains the heat wave in India and the severe drought in Indonesia and the Philippines.

Climatologists say that the El Niño phenomenon should also be blamed for the abnormally warm winters experienced around the world. The shift in atmospheric pressure caused by El Niño usually increases the earth’s temperature by 0.5 degrees above normal but in the 2015 El Niño, the earth’s temperature rose by three degrees. This led to lesser snowfall and a warmer Christmas for some countries like Canada.

It is predicted by experts that harsher effects of El Niño may be expected in years to come. They say that people across the Pacific may take the hardest blow. As a way to prevent horrendous events from happening, they are calling for immediate collaborative action against climate change. Every nation should unite and do something as soon as possible.

질문&어휘 문법TIPs 해석
questions

1 Explain the El Niño phenomenon.

2 How did the El Niño phenomenon cause warmer winters in several countries?

3 Explain how the El Niño phenomenon is affecting your country.

4 Explain the meaning of the underlined part.

vocabularies

evacuate 피난시키다/ 

spike 급등, 급증/ 

equatorial 적도의/ 

self-perpetuating 저절로 계속되는/ 

drought 가뭄/ 

climatologist 기후학자/

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