El Niño Phenomenon in the Galapagos Archipelago: Too Much Rain Over Paradise? Or Just Enough?
For those familiar with it, El Niño tends to conjure up images of torrential rains and biblical-level floods rushing throughout Latin America. But it’s often easy for newcomers to overestimate the magnitude of phenomenon in the region, especially when it comes to El Niño Phenomenon in the Galapagos Archipelago. Make no mistake: El Niño is a serious meteorological force throughout a substantial portion of the South American coast. But, as it turns out, the negative reputation that El Niño has throughout much of the world is actually a boon for the enchanted isles and its organisms, in many ways.
What is it?
El Niño phenomenon is a weather anomaly caused by a shift in winds. On a normal year, trade winds coming from the south move up the coast of South America all the way to the Galapagos Islands. With them, the cold Humboldt ocean current moves up as well. In this zone, they hit the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The ITCZ is a belt of low pressure that circles the Earth around the equator, where the trade winds of the northern and southern hemispheres come together. These wind currents then shift west towards Asia, where they collide with warmer winds, causing it to rain.
Even so, this increase in drizzles and temperatures has a blooming effect on the land. This is the season when the Galapagos Islands will be at their greenest and most abundant time. The increase in the production of food due to more favourable weather conditions causes animals on land to flourish. So even if there is less marine life to be appreciated, although in the Galapagos it is never really gone, the activity of fauna on land surpasses all expectations.
How Does El Niño Phenomenon in the Galapagos Archipelago Affect Visitor’s Experience of the Islands?
This period of El Niño Phenomenon in the Galapagos Archipelago is what we consider a normal hot season in the archipelago. Tourism and visitor sites are always open and life goes on as usual.
Up above, “flash rains” remain present for brief periods throughout the day (typically the afternoon) after which the remainder of the day tends to stay clear and even fresh. Lower elevations tend to receive less rain that higher ones.
Things on sea are rather pleasant as well. The absence of trade winds offers travellers the chance to dip into warmer waters and experience calmer seas aboard their respective vessels.
Make sure you enjoy the best of the Galapagos hot season (including our BIG15 wildlife) aboard our Galapagos cruises!
With parents that worked for the U.S. Foreign Service up until he graduated from high school, Chris was raised to have the heart of a nomad throughout his life. He has resided in Honduras, Guatemala, Colombia, Panama and Ecuador throughout his years, and just recently spent the past four up in Canada finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy & English at the University of British Columbia.