July 4, 2013
The Oceans And Climate Off The Coast Of Peru
The Earth covered a little more than 70 percent by water. So, what happens to the sea surface temperatures during these climate cycles? For this article, we are going to look at one location and that is in the Pacific, just off the coast of Peru. This area has huge impact; not only in climate, but also an entire region’s way of life. I am going to choose a few select years that were neutral ENSO, EL-Nino and La-Nina and also pick years that had Solar Max and Solar Min’s to see what we can find.
I will be looking at the following years: 1998/2002/2009/2011 as each of these years accomplishes the needs listed above.
Starting with 1998, the year of the great and large beast El-Nino that no-one can forget. Let’s see what the SST looked like in this region. In January of 1998 the area just off the coast of Peru was running about 4-5C above the normal SST temps for that region. This is very inductive of El-Nino in the hot waters. These warm waters stayed in place until May; then a decrease was noted from June-July as temps fell to around 2C above, further cooling in August to normal. Then there was a slight shift for the rest of the year to temps around 0.5-1.0C below normal in the region. So, this type of impact on the climate of just this region would provide large amounts of disruption in the fishing in this area as the cold upwelling was replaced by the warmer waters. This has a huge climate impact.
The next year to look at is 2009, the latest solar min cycle. January started out with the SST average around -0.5 below normal and then fell to the peak in March at -2C below average. During this time the upwelling is getting support of the coast of Peru, which is good for the region and the fisherman. The rest of the year was around 0.0-0.5C above normal, which is sustainable for the region; so this year there was smaller impacts felt along the Peru. This is just one solar min cycle, but the impacts were good for the region, keeping the temps cool; so a solar min could have good impacts on the region as well.
The third year to take a look at is 2011, the latest La-Nina cycle. The coast of Peru enjoys fishing and the cooler waters, so La-Nina would be a great economic boost for the region. Temps started in January around -1.0 below normal and remained for the entire year in the 0 to-2C range. This would give the entire region a whole year of well abundant upwelling and fishing conditions.
The final year to examine is the year of 2002, the last pronounced solar max in the region. A warming sun should mean trouble for the ocean waters. January through April, the region saw SST around 1-2 degrees above normal. During the summer months in the region, while the sun was at its peak, the remainder of the year temps stayed about 0-1.5 degrees above average. So, the solar max can have an impact on the waters off the coast of Peru, but not to the extent of El-Nino.
This shows you a wide array of impacts that the oceans can have during different phases of the Climate Cycle. This was just one location, I will be examining more over time, to see what other noted impacts can be found by the climate cycle and the oceans.
Image Credit: Thinkstock.com