Understanding the El Niño Phenomenon

Understanding the El Niño Phenomenon

There was a time when all you could see in the news was “El Niño this” and “El Niño that” but most of the time, people had no clue what it was. In fact, all they knew was that El Niño was scary and it would ruin their lives.

What is El Niño?

El Niño is characterized by markedly warmer water in the Pacific Ocean just off the Coast of South America. Now it shouldn’t be too worrisome since water temperature changes all the time but what El Niño does is it actually changes the weather patterns not just in the US but in other areas of the world as well.

Who Recognized El Niño?

It wasn’t some big-time, hot-shot research team that found out about El Niño first. Actually, it was recognized by fishermen just going about their job off the South American Coast. After all, who better to notice the chances in the ocean than people who spend their daily lives beside it? These days however, El Niño is tracked by climate experts with the use of satellite data and ocean buoys.

What is with the Name?

Now some of you might wonder what “El Niño” means and why that name was chosen. El Niño is the Spanish term for “Christ Child” or “The Little Boy” but before you start blaming the Spanish or little boys for the phenomenon, the name was actually given to the phenomenon since it had a propensity to show up around Christmas time. It is also good to note that El Niño actually has a cool sister that goes by the name of “La Niña” which is “The Little Girl” in Spanish.

What Happens when El Niño Starts?

When El Niño kicks in, trade winds become more relaxed in the western and central pacific. The surface water temperature by South American shores rises since there is less cold water up-swelling from below the water to cool the surface. This works to cut off the supply of nutrients in the water which affects the food chain drastically which then leads to fish shortages.

What are the Known Effects of El Niño?

1)  It brings about drought in the West Pacific area.

2)  It is associated with Australia Bushfires.

3)  It causes more rainfall across the Southern United States and Peru which leads to destructive floods.

Some people have asked why El Niño has not yet been stopped and the answer is simple: there is no way to stop or reverse it. It is a phenomenon that scientists are still trying to solve up to this day.


8 Craziest Japanese Inventions of All Time

Japan is a country that is usually foremost on technological developments and they have come up with some really cutting edge inventions such as robotics, the first still video camera, the compact disc player, and the electric rice cooker, just to name a few. However, despite their many wonderful inventions that has changed the world, they also have the occasional misses that just makes the world scratch their heads in confusion. Check out some of their craziest inventions below.

The full-body umbrella

The full-body umbrella

Umbrellas really do a good job of keeping your head dry but it does allow the rest of the body to get wet. The Japanese however, have conquered that and came up with the full body umbrella. It looks just like a regular umbrella but is surrounded by a water-proof curtain.

Easy Ear-explorer

Easy ear-explorer

Do you ever wonder what the insides of your ears look like? Well, with the easy ear-explorer, you no longer have to wonder since you get direct access to the most inner recesses of your ears. It might look strange but it does have its use: it can make ear-cleaning a breeze.

Subway Chin Rest

Subway chin rest

After a long and hectic day at work, the last thing you want to do is ride a train and nod off as you stand shoulder to shoulder with other commuters. However, Japan has come up with a chin rest that allows you to sleep even as you ride the train while standing up.

Butter Stick

Butter stick

This Japanese invention is so wacky yet useful that you wonder why you have never thought of it before. Think of your tube of Chapstick but instead of lip balm, it contains a stick of butter instead. This means you can butter your toast on the go without the need to pack butter knives!

Umbrella Tie

Umbrella tie

Is it a tie that doubles as an umbrella or is it the other way around? Either way, this is one wacky Japanese invention that will free your hands and make you look somewhat stylish (or strange) at the same time.

Silent Karaoke

Easy ear-explorer

Ever wanted to belt out a tune but too worried about what your neighbors will say? Enter the Silent Karaoke! A device from Japan that looks as strange as its name.

Square Watermelon

Square watermelon

Are oval watermelons too boring for you? Japan has the answer in their square (and expensive!) watermelons! They are forced into square tempered glass containers and cost about $15-20.