As you may have already learned, experts are predicting that an important ENSO, or the El Niño Southern Oscillation, event is on its way. El Niño events happen relatively frequently (every 2 – 7 years on average), it’s the intensity of said events that makes them “major” or “minor”, and how much of an impact they will have. Pretty much every El Niño event has been different from the other, making their intensity very difficult to predict.
El Niño is a phenomenon that, according to scientists, may actually be a natural mechanism for moving heat that has accumulated between ENSO events from the tropics to the polar regions. If so, then without El Niño events, the earth’s tropics would be too hot and the poles too cold for any type of human habitation.
These events actually affect almost the entire planet. From Southeast Asia, to the entire Eastern Pacific rim, Eastern USA, Europe, and Australia. In short, the effects of El Niño are a reverse of the usual weather patterns. In other words, where things are usually dry, they become very wet and vice versa. This is why India suffers greatly due to a reduced monsoon season, and the Eastern Pacific and the Southern Atlantic tend to see an increase in frequency and intensity of hurricanes and typhoons.
Usually, during major El Niño events, Galapagos becomes incredibly lush and land species such as finches, land iguanas and tortoises thrive.
The Galapagos are of course, affected as well. Usually, during major El Niño events, Galapagos becomes incredibly lush and land species such as finches, land iguanas and tortoises thrive. It’s worth the trip just to see how gigantic land iguanas can get! On the other hand, though all the usual wildlife in the Galapagos can be seen regardless of the event, marine species tend to decline since their food source is harder to find, be it algae or fish.
How long the ENSO lasts also depends on its unpredictable intensity. This year’s El Niño may last from November 2015 through April or May 2016. Yet, El Niño need not be a reason for you to postpone a Galapagos vacation! If you are thinking of a Galapagos cruise in the near future, but are unsure due to this natural phenomenon, just think of the following:
- El Niño increases the probability and strength of hurricanes and typhoons in the Atlantic and Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, and Eastern Pacific (Baja Region). In Galapagos, there are no hurricanes…ever. Your vacation is safe.
- During El Niño events, Europe tends to get colder winters making the Galapagos a welcome retreat from the (even more) freezing weather; remember the snow flurries in the UK in 2009/2010? Galapagos is never freezing... ever. Come over, stay warm.
- Southeast Asia is usually victim to very dry weather and skyrocketing temperatures. Galapagos can get hot, but not this hot.
- Galapagos water is generally cool or cold, thanks to the Humboldt Current that arrives from the southern coasts of South America. During El Niño events, this current is less present and travelers in Galapagos can enjoy Galapagos weather with warmer ocean waters allowing for prolonged and more comfortable water activities such as snorkeling, swimming and kayaking.
- El Niño events in the Galapagos can be a very educational experience. Though these events are natural in origin, many scientists do point to Global Warming as a likely culprit of El Niño’s potential increases in intensity and frequency. During this El Niño event in the Galapagos, Quasar Expeditions’ guides will offer special chats during excursions focused on El Niño, global warming, and their effects for all of us throughout the world. Though some of the wildlife is less present, in general all Galapagos animals remain in the Galapagos and can be seen. So, these chats on site will be very dynamic, educational and comfortable.
- El Niño will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the personalized attention, delicious gastronomy, intimate atmosphere and superb guiding that only Quasar Expeditions offers in the Galapagos Islands.
El Niño will have absolutely no effect whatsoever on the personalized attention, delicious gastronomy, intimate atmosphere and superb guiding that only Quasar Expeditions offers in the Galapagos Islands.