El Niño’s effect on the rest of the world
Words by Morgan Williamson Whether it’s winter or summer in your respected part of the globe, it’s fair to say the opposing seasons have been virtuosic If you’ve been missing out… well, sucks. It seems everywhere has been steaming white. Snapper can’t contain itself on the Goldie, California’s winter’s been brilliant with warm weather, occasional rain, offshore […]
Words by Morgan Williamson
Whether it’s winter or summer in your respected part of the globe, it’s fair to say the opposing seasons have been virtuosic If you’ve been missing out… well, sucks. It seems everywhere has been steaming white. Snapper can’t contain itself on the Goldie, California’s winter’s been brilliant with warm weather, occasional rain, offshore winds and consistent overhead surf. Each swell that hits Jaws is the next heaviest thing you’ve seen, the Eddie went and the America’s East Coast has been spitting icy tunnels. Natural foot dreams are swinging through Morocco and more natty desires in Mex. Winter, summer, who gives a shit? The surf world’s feeling burnt out and lovely. For the Pacific it’s an El Niño affair, but how does that translate from sea to sea. Surely the changes in weather patterns have a ripple effect throughout our fave salt-water recreation vessel. For the facts behind the swells, we hit up our dear friends at Magic Seaweed. Here’s a comprehensive rundown of how the long awaited weather event in the Pacific is effecting the ocean far and wide.
Hawaii and the US West Coast
The brunt of El Niño slams through these areas. And it’s been god damn beautiful. There’s a clear pattern of warmer waters to the south. This creates a more active southerly jet stream (essentially a river of wind) which brings much needed rainfall, but more importantly sends strong swell to Hawaii, the US West Coast and south of the border. It has yet to stop, everyone’s feeling a bit surfed out, and nobody’s complaining.
New Jersey drain pipes. Photo: Mike Incitti
US East Coast
Because the jet stream is forced south in the Eastern Pacific it’s energy enters the Atlantic further south. This results in more Nor’Easter storms, which produce serious swell for the East Coast and the Caribbean. And is why we’ve seen an influx of iced out, offshore tunnels, that’ll put any avid swordsman in a trance. The past few seasons have seen more storms coming from the north as opposed to the southerly trend this year. Storms from the south are less intense than what’s typical for the season. Determining if this is solely tied to El Niño proves difficult, but east coast surfer’s could care less. It’s been pumping, that’s all that matters.
Since the Atlantic storms possess less moxie, and have been more consistent than average, more swell’s been swinging though Morocco and the Canaries. Both regions have had an outstanding season gifted with months of mid-sized, long period swell and the right winds. As a result of this southerly trend, Portugal’s been plagued onshore winds. Ireland’s suffered as well, seeing less massive swell and consistent onshore winds. It’s gloom and doom in the land of Guinness. France on the otherhand, had one hell of a start to winter. The modest storms have greeted the French beachies with warm hands and cold winds.
Snapper’s been the dreamiest situation, as long as you can deal with the crowd. Photo: Juan Carlos Medina
It’s difficult to tell what effects El Niño could attribute to Australia. There’s been measurable changes in temperature and drought risk. But according to Magic Seaweed’s analysis, there’s only 30 years of decent data for review, and this is the third major El Niño event within that time. For Oz, there’s been no clear signs of change opposed to previous years. Although there’s a statistical link to a reduction in cyclones near the coast… don’t tell the Superbank!
This is an area where El Niño is having a negative effect. Where there’s winners, there’s losers and Micronesia’s taken that spot. While most of the Pacific storms have formed further to the east than usual, it’s been an underwhelming season for swell. And, NE trade winds have stirred the pessimistic pot. This is most likely a result of El Niño.
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