Drought has been connected to El Nino not just in regions of Latin America, but also in southeastern Africa, South Asia, Indonesia, and Australia. It has also been linked to significant losses in fish stocks, notably the collapse of the world's largest fishery, the Peruvian anchoveta, in 1972. Further evidence that this phenomenon is real came when scientists detected sea surface temperature changes consistent with El Nino during two of these past droughts.
El Nino comes from the Spanish word for little boy (not to be confused with the English term), because it was originally discovered by scientists studying meteorological data who noticed that temperatures in the Pacific Ocean had increased significantly. The reason for this increase is still not fully understood, but it is thought that one factor may be a change in the wind pattern caused by the presence of a large body of water (the eruption of a major volcano could also play a role). El Nino can have a significant impact on agriculture and weather all over the world, so its effects are felt by many nations.
Here is a list of some of the countries that experience El Nino effects: Argentina, Australia, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Peru, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Venezuela.
Traditional fishing in Peru and Ecuador is being harmed by El Nino. When this upwelling of water diminishes, as it does in El Nino years, warmer, less nutrient-rich water extends down the coast, and the catch suffers. The same thing happens with the Chilean fishery.
The impact on fish populations can be seen in studies of age structures within species. For example, one study found that older fish are dominating the hake population in certain areas where there has been heavy fishing pressure. This indicates that these older fish are likely to be from beforeer generations that were not killed off by fishing. If future fishing activities continue at today's rates, then these older hakes will become an increasingly large proportion of the total population until they dominate completely. Similar patterns have been observed within other fish species including scads, groupers, and bass.
Some fish populations seem to recover quickly after strong El Ninos. Others don't recover so fast and sometimes need several years before they return to normal. For example, one study found that while the overall size of the fish stock was larger after El Nino, it took about three years for the population to recover after the event. During this time there was a shift toward younger fish with lower growth rates. So even though the total number of fish increased, their average life span decreased.
The warm water sloshes back towards South America, concealing the nutrient-rich cold waters and ensuring a scarcity of fish. El Nino was initially noticed by Peruvian fisherman because to a scarcity of seafood. They discovered that every three to seven years, there were almost no fish in the waters. The reason for this is that the ocean absorbs more carbon dioxide during El Nino events than it does at other times of the year.
These are just some of the many questions that remain unanswered about El Nino. However, what we do know is that its effects on global climate change will have serious consequences for marine ecosystems around the world.
El Nino inhibits the upwelling of cold water off the Americas' coasts. When this happens, the fish either perish or relocate to locations where there is more food. Marine animals that eat on fish, such as seals and sea lions, may be impacted. Further inland, drought conditions may develop, which can affect plants that fish eat. Fish populations in the Pacific Ocean have fluctuated greatly over time due to El Nino/Southern Oscillation cycles.
El Nino also causes temperatures in coastal areas to rise. This could cause problems for certain species of fish that prefer cooler waters. If sea levels rise because of El Nino, some low-lying islands may become uninhabitable by fish.
Finally, El Nino can lead to conflict between fishermen who rely on healthy fish populations for their livelihood and environmentalists who fear for the long-term health of the ocean if too many fish are taken from it. In 1998, protests led to violence when Ecuadorian farmers attempted to prevent fish from being caught during an El Nino event.
Fish count data collected by scientists working for NOAA show that U.S. fishing communities lost about $140 million worth of fish due to El Nino in 1992. The number of fish captured per trip increased back toward normal after El Nino ended, indicating that fish were able to rebound quickly after the climate change event had passed.
El Nino is related with warm and rainy weather months from April to October along the beaches of northern Peru and Ecuador, producing catastrophic floods when the event is strong or intense. During long-term El Nino episodes, the local fishing economy along the afflicted coastline may suffer. When it ends, as usual after three years, the waters return to normal and the fish populations recover.
The latest El Nino developed in 2015 and was one of the strongest on record. It brought drought to Chile but also heavy rain and flooding in Peru. The rains caused widespread damage to agriculture in Peru, where farmers were left without crops for a second year running.
In 2016, another strong El Nino is expected to develop by December at least. Flooding occurred in several regions of Peru last year due to this phenomenon.
In conclusion, El Nino can cause flooding in Peru but also severe droughts. The intensity of these effects depends on many factors such as the age of the episode, how far away it is from shore, etc. Damage to the fishing industry can be significant when it occurs during strong events while dry spells can affect food security generally.
Fish populations off the coast of California may potentially be impacted. Land-based animals that eat plants, such as butterflies and birds, may also be affected.
El Nino can have an impact on fishing because it changes the location of different types of fish. For example, when El Nino causes temperatures in the Pacific Ocean to rise, it creates favorable conditions for tropical fish to move into cooler waters. At the same time, however, it displaces fish that would normally live in those areas during normal seasons. The increase in tropical fish occurs because they prefer warmer waters than normal winter temperatures provide. The displacement of other fish occurs because they need colder waters to survive. When El Nino causes temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean to rise, it has the opposite effect on marine life. Here, it tends to push fish toward areas with lower temperatures, which can lead to extinction since these species aren't adapted to warm climates.
Fish are not the only animal that may feel the effects of El Nino. Animals from all over the world travel to new places looking for food every season, including fish. Changes in ocean temperature can influence where these animals find suitable living conditions and what kinds of foods are available to them.