El Nino and Fresh Drinking Water

Image of rainclouds over ocean watersEl Nino, Spanish for “The Boy Child”, has arrived in the American Southwest. Unlike the Christ Child that the term originated from, there is a lot of concern over the coming of El Nino, for not only the loss of the fishing season due to the warming of the Pacific Ocean, but in those areas where mudslides and overflowing rivers are common place, the rains that El Nino bring are often devastating. Loss of personal property, and even loss of life is a real concern. On the other hand, there is a sense of cautious elation that the lingering drought may be over.

Heavy rains always bring tension, and especially first rains, when roads are slick. Of course, the rain is always welcomed, but we will need to experience multiple days of serious rainfall to make the slightest dent in the many, nearly dry, reservoirs and deep aquifers that rely on slow moving water that gentle rains, and melting snow bring. El Nino is not the kind of weather pattern that will offset these many years of dry warm winters, unfortunately.

The typical winter storms that used to bring cold, moist air from the arctic every year, have been few and far between. But, El Nino is not an uncommon phenomenon; taking place about every seven to ten years, and not due to a warming planet, the intensity of El Nino seems to be building with each passing decade. During non El Nino years, storms would originate in the north, and would be carried by the Polar Jetstream blowing over in Asia, and often carrying sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxide created through fossil fuel burning and volcanic activity. These gases would react with water and oxygen in the atmosphere, as it blows easterly, and forms sulfuric acid, ammonium nitrate, and nitric acid that eventually disperses over North America and fall to the ground as Acid Rain.

El Nino is not your typical winter storm, and that is a very good thing…at least when it comes to energy and fresh water!

The “Boy Child” is bringing warm, wet air from the southern tropics, and with it, an abundance of moisture in the formImage of rain over the ocean of rain. But, before seawater becomes rainwater, the dipole molecules in the oceans become highly negatively charged as they turn to vapor and escape the oceans hold through wind and evaporation on their journey through the changes of currents, and differential air pressure that eventually take the form of clouds. It’s a true miracle how water takes on so many forms, and the most precious of these is in the liquid state of fresh drinking water.

With no conceivable way to bring new water to this planet, and without any means to capture and store this precious resource, El Nino’s fresh water is simply being washed down the gutters, into storm drains, picking up surface contaminants of oils and debris and further polluting our oceans as rainwater is returned back into the sea without another thought, except for the relief that the storm has passed and the sun will soon be shining.

The American Southwest needs this seawater turned fresh water, and El Nino is indeed, “The Boy Child”…our savior!

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