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The Economic Effects of El Nino

Welcome to our comprehensive website that is dedicated to studying the economical effects of El Nino. The effects of this phenomenon are far reaching and have an influence on nations all over the world. This site was created as a project for the University of Michigan's Global Change I course in Ann Arbor, Michigan. This site was created by students Christopher Gerben, Nicholas Chase, and Elizabeth Evans. We have focused our attention on the nations that are effected the most directly by El Nino in the continents of North America, South America, Asia, and Australia.


What is El Nino? What are its Economical Effects?

Trade winds blowing from east to west cause vast amounts of warm surface water to pile up in the western Pacific Ocean. The temperature of this warmer water is about 8 degrees Celsius higher than in the eastren Pacific. The water accumulated gets to about a half meter higher due to the piling up as well.

As the warm water moves west, cold nutrient rich water upwells to the surface in South America. This nutrient-rich water feeds a vast ecosystem which causes a great abundence of fishing to exist. In the west the warmer water evaporates easily bringing pleantiful rainfall that causes crops to flourish, feeding vast quantities of people and fueling economies of entire nations.

Here is a map that shows simply what El Nino is

But every five to seven years an event occurs to change this balance and wreak havic on nation's populations and economies. Trade winds suddenly weaken in the central and eastren Pacific Ocean, causing the warmer water to spread back east, cutting off the nutrient rich uptake and bringing rainstorms eastward away from Asia and Australia. The changes in water currents also has a huge effect on the atmospheric climates around the globe. Seasons are extended or shortened. Droughts run rampid as do floods.

Here is a global map looking at various effects of El Nino

South American economies are curtailed by the loss of fishing and climate effects on crops and people. In Asia and the westren Pacific region, severe droughts are brought about that starve crops, people, and economies. Severe rainfall is brought as well, that has effects on tourism and cash crops as well. The climate effects also hamper North America heavily as well, bringing flooding to some parts and droughts to others. These extreme climate changes have effects on farming as well as bringing damage to the United States as well as around the globe in property and business.

As you can see, the economic effects of El Nino exceeded $8 billion dollars in 1983. To check out the effects on the regions most heavily effected by El Nino, go to the contents below.

Economic Effects of El Nino

Economic Effects on South America
Economic Effects on North America
Economic Effects on Asia and the Pacific Region