It looks like we have some bad news for the folks in B.C.
A “Monster” El Nino is headed our way, and with it could come severe flooding, coastal erosion and higher tides in low-lying areas. At least, that’s according to a new study published yesterday in Nature Geoscience. A team of 13 researchers, including one from the University of Victoria, wanted to explore if there was any connection between the natural phenomenon and hazardous weather events. What they found is that there is a link, and once El Nino kicks into high gear this fall or winter, coastal areas in B.C. could be looking at some pretty severe and even dangerous weather.
The reason you may not have noticed this trend before is because Earth hasn’t experienced a strong El Nino since 1997-98, although the last one occurred in 2009-10. The good news, however, is that the research is being used to help vulnerable areas better prepare for the coming turbulence. But it turns out that may not be all west coasters have to worry about.
“It’s not just El Niño we should be concerned about,” Ian Walker, professor of Geography at the University of Victoria and coauthor of the study, said in a statement. “Our research shows that severe coastal erosion and flooding can occur along the British Columbia coast during both El Niño and La Niña storm seasons unlike further south in California. We need to prepare not only for this winter, but also what could follow when La Niña comes.”
For those who don’t know, El Nino is a natural, tropical ocean temperature phenomenon, where warm water near the equator in the Pacific moves northwards, sometimes reaching as far as Alaska. La Nina, by contrast, is when unusually cold masses of water creep into the Pacific. These changes in ocean temperatures mess with weather and cloud formations all over the world.
Here’s the flip side, though: If you live pretty much anywhere outside of B.C., the weather forecast is all sunshine and rainbows–literally.
While El Nino can devastate certain communities around the globe, it tends to be a plus for most of Canada. Environment Canada reports that El Nino generally brings warmer winters. The agency actually predicted earlier this year that the coming El Nino will make our colder months feel like a “tropical heat wave.”
From a strictly selfish perspective: Woohoo!
Sorry about that though, British Columbia.