So what is El Nino? Surely the storms should replenish the water supply?

Satellite photo of Hurricane Katrina over The Gulf of Mexico on August 28, 2005. This NOAA image is in the public domain. GOES-12 4 km infrared imagery.

Satellite photo of Hurricane Katrina over The Gulf of Mexico on August 28, 2005. This NOAA image is in the public domain. GOES-12 4 km infrared imagery.

El Nino is a pattern of irregular and complex climate changes that primarily affect the Pacific region of the equator. Every few years, following a rise in ocean temperatures of North Peru and Equador there are devastating storms, floods, hurricanes, mudslides followed by extreme drought.

If you are old enough you will remember 1997-98 when El Nino struck, affecting Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia and Australia. All those extreme conditions caused unseasonal heavy rain to hit South America when the wind patterns reversed. This also hit Eastern Central Africa causing $33 million of damage to property.

At the time of writing this the experts are predicting a Godzilla El Nino as satellites have seen the same pattern of warm water as 1997 only wider. El Nino means ‘little boy’ and stands for the warmer cyclical phase. Less frequently ‘La Nina ‘little girl’ comes onto the scene and is the cooler phase, but that is not what is happening here.

One other problem that wasn’t there in 1997/98 was the Oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In 2012 the Gulf stream came to a halt after BP had a major oil spill and effectively sent it on a circular path upsetting the balance of the earths currents and weather patterns. Although attempts have been made to cap the fracture oil continues to pour out and causing the water temperature to be much warmer.

If 2012 is anything to go by, once all the freakish weather conditions I mentioned by February the weather will change back to high temperatures and the high probability of a return to drought conditions again.

Is this making you feel thirsty? Click here to see what I discovered!