Or so it seems. I used to come to Argentina quite often, but I have only been living here for the last 6 months. Since september it has been raining ‘a lot’ here. Let’s say once a week or at least once very 10 days. I thought, well, I suppose this is the ‘rainy season’, but month after month this weather continued. Exept for maybe a few extremely hot and dry weeks in januari when everyone was crying for the rain to come and cool off. People complain, too hot, too much rain. They almost sounded like Belgians ! (undoubtetly the absolute champions in complaining about the weather).
They all blamed El Niño.
Well as a Belgian I must say -shame on me- that El Niño is a far-from-my-bed-show. Weather there is always unstable. Sometimes too hot, sometimes too cold,… but we never look for an explanation for that. It’s just like that. Even if it were El Niño it didn’t bother us more then it should : we know El Niño from the news, from the droughts and floods in other parts of the world. But now that everyone here talks about it I decided to look a few things up and share it with other ignorant Belgians (or others).
No El Niño is not a recent phenomenon, as I thought. It is not a consequence of global warming, but the influence gets stronger because of global warming. The phenomenon has been known for more then 300 years, it comes every 2 to 7 years, sometimes strong, sometimes weak. It is said to have been the origin of famines in history, of endings of old Peruvian societies and more.
It is also called ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscilliation), El Niño because it is a phenomenon that usually comes around christmas, el Niño being christ. An Oscillation being a change in athmospere, (i.c. a change in surface pressure). It is a climate patern that originates in the tropical Pacific ocean, where the surface temperatures of the ocean rises compared to normal (El Niño) and the surface presures in the western pacific are high (southern Oscilliation). But this is getting too technical and I leave this to the experts.
The consequences are that in South America (Peru and Ecuador) the summer is warm and very wet, causing major floods. The west coasts get less cold water and the fish populations deminishes. It is said that Brasil and Northern Argentina get wetter weather then normal in spring and early summer. The dry periods are hotter then normal and the water evaporates faster then normal. In Indonesia and Australia El Nino causes exeptional draughts.
So that explains the rains we had from september to december. But I didn’t come to februari yet. After the extremely hot and dry month of januari El Niño did a good job in Argentina and caused thunderstorms that gave more rain in 2 hours then in a “normal” day of really bad storms, causing floods in the center of the town as wel in suburbs. In the month of februari we had more then 1/3th of the rain we normally get in a year.
But the best is yet to come. Februari is considered a dry month, march and april are the wet months, the Servicio Meterologico Nacional (SMN) predicts more rain then normal to come, and can not exclude that we will have more of those exeptional heavy thunderstorms like we had in februari.
We are ready for that. My rubber boots are waiting, my raincoat is hanging next to the door, I have my umbrella in my purse. In between the rain and the storms we are still enjoying a wonderful hot summer. I can only warn my friends and family that are coming over from Belgium in the next few months to be prepared to some exeptional weatherconditions. Although after the exeptional cold and dark winter they had back there, I fear they only want sun, sun and more sun…
Maybe they should get in touch with the Weathergods and see what they can do. Quizás.