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  • [Music plays]

  • (Narrator) Our story begins in the warm pool,

  • the place in the Pacific

  • where the trade winds sweep the world’s warmest ocean.

  • Here clouds form as warm air rises.

  • Across the Pacific clouds gather at three large meeting places.

  • These meeting places have scientific names.

  • There’s the South Pacific Convergence Zone,

  • the Intertropical Convergence Zone,

  • and the West Pacific Monsoon.

  • These cloud meeting places move throughout the year,

  • causing the usual wet seasons and dry seasons.

  • Some years they move to different areas

  • because of changes in trade winds and ocean temperatures.

  • This in turn causes changes to rainfall,

  • sea levels, and tropical cyclone risk.

  • Scientists call these changes in the air and ocean El Niño

  • and La Niña.

  • In an El Niño event trade winds weaken,

  • warmer water moves to the east,

  • and the cloud meeting places move closer together.

  • El Niño brings big changes to the temperature,

  • rain, and sea level in our region.

  • In some countries, such as Papua New Guinea and Palau,

  • it can cause dryer weather and lower sea levels,

  • sometimes leading to food and water shortages.

  • [Splash]

  • During El Niño tropical cyclone risk increases

  • in the east in places like the Southern Cook Islands and Samoa.

  • [Music plays]

  • [Wind howls]

  • And in countries along the equator, like Kiribati,

  • El Niño usually brings more rain

  • and sometimes higher sea levels,

  • which then lead to flooding.

  • It can also mean a better time to catch tuna in Kiribati

  • as the fish follow the warmer water into this area.

  • El Niño and its impacts usually last for one year,

  • and then things return to normal.

  • But El Niño can last longer.

  • In some years the opposite of an El Niño occurs.

  • Scientists call this La Niña.

  • In a La Niña event the trade winds get stronger,

  • pushing warmer water to the west,

  • and the cloud meeting places further apart.

  • In some countries close to the equator,

  • such as Tuvalu and Nauru,

  • La Niña can bring less rain and even drought.

  • This can affect locally grown food sources like

  • taro, banana, and grapefruit,

  • and sometimes lead to water shortages.

  • In other countries, like Fiji and the Solomon Islands,

  • La Niña usually brings warmer oceans,

  • more rain, and can cause flooding.

  • This can lead to coral bleaching,

  • waterlogged crops, and increase risk of diseases like

  • typhoid and dengue fever.

  • In the Solomon Islands La Niña also causes higher sea levels.

  • El Niño and La Niña are not climate change.

  • They are part of the natural climate system.

  • El Niño and La Niña will continue to happen in the future,

  • but climate change may intensify some of their impacts.

  • Learning how to adapt to the ups and downs

  • of El Niño and La Niña

  • will help to prepare for long term climate change.

  • Some El Niño and La Niña events are more severe than others.

  • Your local weather office is always watching El Niño and La Niña

  • to provide temperature, rain, and cyclone forecasts

  • that your island is likely to receive in the months ahead.

  • It’s important to undertake activities to prepare your area

  • for the impacts of El Niño and La Niña events.

  • There are many ways to do this.

  • Be sure to keep up to date with the forecast

  • from your local weather office,

  • and take time to make plans for the season ahead.

  • [Music plays]

[Music plays]

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B1 la pacific climate cyclone warmer meeting

The Pacific Adventures of the Climate Crab

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    Bing-Je posted on 2013/12/12
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