El Nino looks like its back, and hope is high for fewer hurricanes

Image by NASAImage by 20090715-elnino.jpg What happens when a very strong El Nino strikes surface waters in the Pacific Ocean. The sequence shows warm water anomalies (red) develop in the Central Pacific Ocean. Winds that normally blow in a westerly direction weaken allowing the easterly winds to push the warm water up against the South American Coast.

The waters of the eastern Pacific are warm once again, and its looking like the weather phenomenon of El Nino is back.

Read more stories on this subject in our hurricane topic page.The good news is that the system will likely trigger a quieter hurricane system in our backyard as cross winds will be stronger -- making it harder for hurricanes to grow big.

That's a matter The Post and Courier has written a bit more about.

But before you go bragging to the rest of the world, there are two things you should know.

First, there are no guarantees. We could still get smacked with a Cat 5.

Second, our blessing is definitely not everyone else's. The Guardian has done up a nice piece on the worldwide effects El Nino usually brings, and it's not too pretty. From heat waves in Europe, to fire in Australia, and famine in Africa.

This graphic at The Guardian is also quite nice, and does a good job of explaining the system and its effects.

Oh, and as a side note: Researchers have recently stumbled onto a variant of El Nino that may be responsible for cycles of bigger storms in the Gulf and Caribbean.

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