El Niño: Rain, Drought and Even Famine

You might be thinking that El Niño is something that's potentially just affects us in Southern California. It's not. From rain, to drought and even to famine El Niño can be at the root of it all... all over the world.

Mickey Glantz is an El Niño researcher in Boulder, Colorado. He says the warm-water El Niño system can have ripple effects all over the work. He says, They call it teleconnections." He has studied El Niños going back to 1951, calls the current one extraordinary and says, "the bigger they are the bigger the ripple or the ripples.

For instance, if we get wet systems in the Pacific "You've got drought in Zimbabwe." He puts it this way. "It's like squeezing a balloon. You squeeze a balloon in one place it increases pressure in lots of other places."

Closer to home, oceanographer Dr. Jerry Schubel says "it's a global phenomenon" and effects different parts of the world in different ways. Schubel, whose President of the Aquarium of the Pacific says in these situations, "Eastern Austrailia typically has severe drought. If you look at Ethiopia they often get heavy rains that can cause flooding and affect their cereal crops and cause starvation."

He adds, "It also has implications for marine life which can only adjust to certain temperature ranges. It has implications for coral reefs."

Meanwhile, Mickey Glantz says, with some level of confidence that in Southern California, "you guys are going to get wet. I don't know how wet."

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