Scientists are convinced that El Nino, especially when it
is strong, can wreak havoc on the world economy. Peru was
one of the countries that were the hardest hit from the
incident during 1982 to 1983, according to assessments
provided by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
Before the incident, Peru supplied 38 percent of the
world's fish meal. From 1982 to 1983, Peru's fish catch
dropped from the previous 10.3 million tons to 1.8 million
tons. The price of soybeans, a substitute for fish meal
in the United States, has tripled, which in turn the retail
price of chicken leapt. The severe drought in the Philippines
has led to a sharp rise in the price of coconuts and thus
increased the factory cost of soap and detergents.
In August 1997, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
reported that the El Nino during 1982-1983 resulted in direct
global economic losses of $13 billion, with indirect and
potential effects that are inestimable.
At the time of El Nino, the fish catch in Peru was severely
reduced and affected global feed market; dead fish piled
up on the coast, contaminating the surrounding water.
Seabirds in coastal areas and on islands fled away out of
the lack of food, affecting the production of the guano
industry and putting workers out of work.
El Nino not only brings huge disaster to people living
along the coast of South America, it also often leads
to global catastrophic climatic anomalies, such as the
continuous emergence of worldwide floods, snowstorms,
droughts, earthquakes, etc. All of these situations are
generally called “the El Nino” in the newspaper, while
the scientists call the year “year of El Nino” when the
seasonal temperature rises fiercely and the average
temperature of seawater is 1℃ higher than that as usual
in a large area.
In 1982-1983, there was increasing precipitation in the
eastern equatorial Pacific where it was usually dry. There
were also abnormal heavy rains in western South America
in summer; Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Paraguay and northeast
Argentina got hit by floods. The rainfall in Ecuador is
15 times more than that in normal years. The dam broke,
the farmland was flooded and hundreds of thousands of
people became homeless.
On the west coast of the United States, the coastal
roadway were flooded, and floods and mudslides in Nevada
and other four states surged as high as nine meters. In
the western Pacific, drought in Australia has led to
bush-fires and deaths of many people. A forest fire
in east Kalimantan, Indonesia, also hit Malaysia and
Singapore. Smoke from the fire disrupted the air travel
in Malaysia, forced rationing of water in three states
leading to Singapore's the worst heat in 35 years.
According to statistics, the economic loss caused by
this event of El Nino in the world is about 20 billion
dollars, which extensively affected the entire eastern
to central tropical Pacific. Now, the two words, El Nino,
has been used by meteorologists and oceanographers to
refer to the large-scale anomalous warming in the equatorial
and eastern Pacific oceans.
Some experts and scholars’ research shows that El Nino
is closely related to the droughts in India, southeast
Asia, Indonesia, Australia and other places, the abnormally
increasing rainfall on the Pacific islands near the equator,
South America's Pacific coast, Ecuador, Peru, Chile, Argentina
and other countries, the diminusion of the tropical storms
in the northwestern Pacific and Atlantic, the low temperature
in summer in northeast China and Japan, China's precipitation
and so on.