Surprise! Guess what I am
Scientists in Piura, Peru,
don't have a consensus about the sudden rainy season.
Cambia a español
The area around Chulucanas City, Peru, is receiving until 18 cm of rain, more than the rest of averages in Piura Region.
Photo by Roberto Saavedra/La República.
COLÁN, Peru - Like
every Southern Summer (December 21st to March 20th), thousands come
to the beach just for having fun. But unlike every Southern Summer,
sea water is warmer, more transparent than usual .
In fact, Peruvian Sea is
usually plenty of plancton, a kind of soup formed by animal and
vegetal microorganisms those feed little fishes, tehn big fishes,
birds and mammals. That explains the marine biodiversity. The cause
could be linked to cool water pulled by Humboldt's Current coming from
But this marine soup is
not currently saltier than usual. warm, transparent, regular. Are all
I've never surfed on a
bodyboard,so I began in Colán, about 55 km to the West of
Piura City, last weekend. Physics taught me that if I pull my body
forward, then I'll get the other side in a straightt line. But if I
don't use my feet to move ahead, then I arrive to a point some meters
to the south in the rim.
Speaking in trigonometry
terms, I am inside a triangle rectangle, and I am surfing over the
hypotenuse. Is that the current? Which one?
We know that Humboldt's
Current flows from south to North and Equatorial Current (a.k.a. El
Niño) flows from North to South. If my bodyboard ended right
to the South, was el Niño's Current that carried me not in a
plain line but a diagonal one?
If this thinking is
correct, then Piura Region is in troubles: strong rains, intense wet
heat... just the two weather conditions we are experiencing right
In Callao, Peruvian
central coast, El Niño Phenomenom National Survey (ENFEN as in
Spanish) monitors El Niño South Oscillation (ENSO). El Niño
is a Spanish word what meanss The Boy or The Male Child. It was given by
Piura's fishermen to the sea water warming-up happening around
Christmas, when Catholic tradition establishes Jesus Christ was born. It
coincides to Southern Summer beginning.
According to an ENFEN's
official report reeleased last February 2nd, all sea water
characteristics I experienced in Colán only can mean an el
Niño event, boosted by a Kelvin Wave in front of Peruvian
coast that unusually did not come from Australia.
DOWNLOAD: ENFEN's Report about El Niño alert in Peruvian coasts. It's in Spanish. (PDF)
A Piura City-based
meteorologist told FACTORTIERRA.NET that wave appeared and moved too
fast that only was detected when atmosphere in Peruvian coast was
already altered. "It's product of prevision lack," he
Another view of rains' effects in Chulucanas City Area, Peru.
Photo by Roberto Saavedra/La República.
In fact, nobody explained
clearly what and how it started but its effects.
Sea water raised from 21,5
Celsius, the Summer average, to 27 Celsius. It accelerated
evaporation, then clouds were pushed by the wind, and strong to moderate
rains fell in Peruvian Central in mid-January, and Peruvian Northern
Arequipa, Ica and Lima
cities, in Peruvian Southern and Central coast, were assaulted by
huaycos [pronounce "wykos"], a Quechua word describing a little slide of mud, rock and
water originated at the mountains top saturated by humidity, losing
stability. Their raging power is not based in volume but
speed, and their lanes are rivers and creeks courses, not matter if
they are dry.
In Peruvian Northern, the
story is different - floods caused by extraordinary rains. A point in
favor is the soil was suffering from drought, so everytime it rains,
water ponds get dry or evaporated. However, this picture could stop
as places like Piura's low pressure area is having much rain than
usual. This is located just in the middle of the territory rimming
Andean Range. A remarkable landmark is Chulucanas City, which had until
18 cm of precipitation. "We experience a real deluge every day,"
a local FACTORTIERRA.NET contributing producer comments.
Service of Meteorology and Hydrology (SENAMHI as in Spanish) warned
we have to expect until30 cm of rain in the next weeks.
Scientists are wondering how and when this Kelvin Wave appeared just in front of Peruvian coasts.
Provided by SENAMHI
A local El Niño
ENFEN believes there are
all the conditions for an El Niño local event and 'local' here
means Peruvian coast, more specific Piura Region, one of the
critic spots in the world where ENSO is largely studied. . Peruvian
scientists named it Coastal el Niño, and currently is rated as
weak with many chances to gain power as the weeks are passing on.
least this little variation put officials from surveillance mode to
alert mode, and have the scientists in Piura from pause to play.
There is not a consensus, actually.
University of Piura's
Rodolfo Rodríguez, one of the tireless ENSO's scholars, opines
ENFFEN diagnosis is premature because it is necessary having 3 months
of sea water warming-ups, and it seems to have started in
mid-January. National University of Piura's School of Fishing
engineering director Rodolfo García Martínez agrees, however he warned
some fish scarce along Piura because species are
migrating where coolest water is available. However, in this point, a
FACTORTIERRA.NET editor observed since August 2016, it was possible to
find warm sea water species at the market.
Anyway, Radio Cutivalú
lately quoted that sea surface temperature in Sechura Bay is 28,5
Celsius, what killed shellfish reserves. A recent official measure reports 31Celsius.
Is not this really El Niño?
National University of Piura's School of Physics meteorologist Manuel
Alejandro More affirms is an el Niño event, indeed, based on a
U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s
numeric definition: 3 consecutive ascendent anomalies more than 0,5
Celsius among a month. The scientist assures NOAA reported a first
raising in December 2016, then in January 2017, and finally beginning
He adds it is not
necessary the whole Equatorial Pacific gets warm to forecast el Niño,
since scientific community divided it in 4 zones. Peru has 'assigned'
1 and 2 zones, where anomalies are apparently happening.
"This must not be
discussed because it is clear it is an El Niño event and it is
developing in 1+2 area," the scientist said in a statement.
FACEBOOK: Check out more photos of people facing rains in Chulucanas, Peru.
Inclusive, ENFEN says
plancton was displaced from Peruvian sea due to entering of
equatorial water. As it is warmer, emerging of cool water is
impossible, just where microorganisms are
All this explains why Colán sea water is warm,
transparent, regular, why flows from North to South, and why Piura
probably will have less fish.
SENAMHI and ENFEN have
warned strong rains between February last week and March firs week,
but the usual in Piura is a rainy March. This time, both agencies are
sure it is triggered by a Kelvin Wave what is flowing from Central
Scientists say we have
to assume this as usual as the climate change is an impossible reality
to deny. Piura is the hard proof of that.
With reports of El
Regional de Piura and Radio Cutivalú.
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