An El Niño, the warm phase in the El Niño Southern Oscillation weather cycle, has begun to shows its effects this 2015-2016 winter.
El Niños occur when the wind slows down in the Pacific ocean, causing a buildup of warm water in the Eastern Pacific ocean. During a normal season, strong westward winds usually push all warm water west.
The most severe effects include an increase of rainfall over southwestern United States and a decrease in rainfall in Indonesia and Australia.
According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune (SGVT), snow levels in the Sierra Nevada are 10 percent above normal, a significant difference from last year when snow levels were only 59 percent of normal.
The pending question is, how will the extra rainfall affect the four-year-long California drought?
In the SGVT, Doug Carlson, a spokesman with the state Department of Water Resources, predicted that two years of rainfall and snowfall at 150% of the normal levels will be needed to reverse the California drought.
While the El Niño will make a dent in the drought, a significant amount of rainfall is needed to restore normal water conditions.
Overall, students are enjoying the wetter weather.
“I like the rainy and cloudy weather although it does create some inconveniences. I’m a swimmer, so it’s not always fun to have a hard practice while it’s freezing cold and pouring. But it is nice to have rain to contrast the normal sunny Californian weather,” junior Vicky Wong said.
“The rain is helping the drought, so I think it’s great,” sophomore Lucas Sherrill said.
“To be quite honest I think the increase in rain is fantastic because everyday it allows for us to perhaps be relieved from the drought,” junior Rebecca Collins said.
“I am very happy regarding the increase of rain because we are in a terrible drought. It also makes it so that I don’t have to bike to school because my parents will drive me,” freshman Nomi Rosen said.
Scauzilla, Steve. “California Ends 2015 Changed by Drought, Anxious for El Nino.”
California Ends 2015 Changed by Drought, Anxious for El Nino. San Gabriel
Valley Tribune, 29 Dec. 2015. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.
“What Is an El Niño, Anyway?” What Is an El Niño, Anyway? Scripps Institution of
Oceanography, 1997. Web. 11 Jan. 2016.