The Impact of El Niño on Peru

How this complex weather pattern is affecting the country


Sand at Palacio Tschudi, Chan ChanCyArk

What is El Niño?

El Niño is a complex weather pattern which occurs every two to seven years, when a weakening or even reversal of the normal easterly trade winds results in the piling up of abnormally warm water in the Southern and Eastern Pacific.    

Motorcyclists ride over the lunar landscape at Chan Chan by CyArkCyArk

How does this contribute to climate change?

This results in more extreme weather conditions, including heavy precipitation and floods in parts of South America, and droughts and wildfires in parts of Australia and south-east Asia. El Niño events also raise global temperatures.   

Chan Chan buildingsCyArk

The severity and regularity of these events are increasing, and coastal communities are on the front line. Increases in global mean temperatures are undoubtedly contributing to this escalation, and there is growing evidence that El Nino events actually contribute to climate change.      

Chan Chan detailsCyArk

How does this affect ecosystems?

Drier weather changes how ecosystems operate and can lead to habitat loss and wildfires, both indirectly and directly increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.   

A Peruvian white banded Nightjar on one of the walls at Chan ChanCyArk

What does this mean for rainfall?

A recent 2018 IPCC report on Climate Phenomena and their Relevance for Future Regional Climate Change cites show varying studies on the impacts of climate change on El Niño, but there is a high confidence that variation in rainfall patterns will increase.    

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Credits: Story

Milagros Flores, ICOMOS and President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Fortifications and Military Heritage.  

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