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El Niño

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El Niño is a climate phenomenon characterized by the irregular warming of ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. These warmings occur at intervals of 2 to 7 years and typically last for several months. El Niño is part of the larger El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern.

During El Niño events, the warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures can have widespread impacts on weather patterns globally. These effects include altered precipitation patterns, leading to increased rainfall in some regions and drought conditions in others. El Niño can also influence temperature extremes, disrupt marine ecosystems, and impact agriculture.

The effects of El Niño can be felt around the world, and extreme weather is becoming more frequent and more intense in many places as a result of climate change. The Earth is currently experiencing an El Niño event, during which time global temperatures typically increase. In Brazil, for example, red alerts have been issued for almost 3,000 towns and cities across the country throughout the year, as they have been experiencing an unprecedented heatwave. The current El Niño event began in early 2023 and is expected to continue through the spring of 2024.

In November 2023, Rio de Janeiro recorded 42.5C on a Sunday – a record for the month – and high humidity on Tuesday meant that it felt like 58.5C, municipal authorities said. More than a hundred million people have been affected by the heat, which is being attributed to the El Niño phenomenon and climate change. In the same way, the city of São Paulo saw average temperatures of 37.3C on a Tuesday afternoon, the National Institute of Meteorology (Inmet) reported. Not to mention, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, a federal agency, detected 3,380 fires in the Pantanal in the first 17 days of November, compared to just 69 in the same period a year ago, and well beyond previous fire season records dating back to 1998. Fires fueled by unusually hot and dry weather destroyed nearly 770,000 hectares (1.9 million acres) of the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetlands, preliminary figures from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro show.

The heatwave, which comes more than a month before the beginning of summer in the southern hemisphere, has seen Brazil’s energy consumption soar to record levels as people try to keep themselves cool. According to scientists, heatwaves are becoming longer and more intense in many places and this is expected to continue while humans keep releasing planet-warming greenhouse gases. Understanding and monitoring El Niño events are important for predicting and managing their associated impacts. Scientists use a variety of tools to monitor El Niño, including ocean buoys, satellites, and computer models. This information is used to provide forecasts of El Niño events, which can help communities prepare for the potential impacts.

In short, El Niño is a complex climate phenomenon that can have a significant impact on weather patterns around the world. It is important to closely monitor El Niño events and to be prepared for potential impacts.

Vocabulary

Climate phenomenon – fenômeno climático

Warming – aquecimento

Ocean surface – superfície do oceano

Eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean – Leste do oceano pacífico equatorial

Intervals – intervalos

Last – durar (de permanecer)

Climate pattern – padrão climático

Temperatures – temperaturas

Widespread impact – impacto generalizado

Weather patterns – padrões climáticos

Increased rainfall – aumento das chuvas

Drought conditions – condições de seca

Disrupt – Interromper

Extreme weather – clima extremo

Climate change – mudanças / alterações climáticas

Currently – atualmente

Increase – aumentar

Issued – emitidos

Throughout the year – ao longo do ano

Unprecedented heatwave – onda de calor sem precedentes

High humidity – alta umidade

Heat – calor

Average temperatures – temperaturas médias

Fires – incêndios

Fire season – temporada de incêndios

Fueled by – alimentados por

Unusually hot and dry weather – clima excepcionalmente quente e seco

Tropical wetlands – zonas úmidas tropicas

Southern hemisphere – Hemisfério sul

Soar – disparar (aumento brusco de algo – nesse caso o consumo de energia, por conta de ventiladores ou ar condicionado)

Keep themselves cool – manter-se frescos

Release – liberar

Greenhouse gases – gases de efeito estufa

Predict – prever

Manage – gerenciar

Tools – ferramentas

Buoys – boias

Forecasts – Previsões

In short – Resumidamente

Closely monitor – Monitorar de perto

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