Heavy Rain in Galapagos: El Niño
With the shift to the rainy season and the current El Niño, rainfalls on the Galapagos Islands have been especially heavy in the past week and are likely to continue to be heavy in the upcoming months. This is not likely to affect neither day tours nor cruises on sea, even though currents and waves can be stronger, but can affect the visits to especially the highlands.
Also due to the heavy rains there are more mosquitos than usual on the Galapagos for which we advise passengers to bring extra mosquito repellent and long sleeves.
With the start of El Niño season we are experiencing in the country changes in rainfall and mudslides, which can affect the viability of the road system in certain parts of Ecuador.
Due to the weather conditions on the Galapagos Islands, the remodelling of the Darwin research centre on Santa Cruz takes longer than expected. Certain parts of the research centre will be closed and in other parts there can be noise disturbance present during the remodelling. The constructions go on for an unknown period of time.
What is “El Niño”?
“El Niño” is the cold Peru Current (or Humboldt Current) that flows offshore from south to north. Associated with this cold current is a process called “coastal upwelling,” or the rising of cold subsurface water. This upwelling water is rich in nutrients that stimulate the growth of algae, food for small animals which are in turn caught by bigger fish, sea lions, birds, and people. During an El Niño situation, when the warm current appears, upwelling ceases and phytoplankton production is greatly diminished and the fish move to colder regions farther south (or they starve).
An El Niño situation occurs every three or four years or so, and is devastating to the fishing economies of Ecuador and Peru. Birds, sea lions and fishermen go hungry because there are not enough fish to go around. Also, torrential rainfall in the coastal zone frequently accompanies the offshore warming, causing devastating floods.