30 years ago the world learnt about "El Niño".
1982 and 1983 bring back memories not only of the Falklands war and tension in the Middle East, but the world weather chaos as well, e.g. heavy April snowfalls in America, lethal landslides in Japan, "red showers" in the UK. It is around that time that the word "El Niño" has started popping up in the mass media.
In 1982 and 1983, there’s been a peak of water temperature oscillation in the western part of the Pacific Ocean. This oscillation that usually takes place with various intensity once in 6-8 years, has been named by meteorologists "El Niño", originally suggested by Peruvian fishermen. The word stands for “a boy” in Spanish. Arrival of the “Boy” meant mass fish deaths for Peruvian fishermen, and a global weather cataclysm – for the rest of the world.
"El Niño" has become a buzz word that many people with no knowledge of meteorology used to explain unexplainable. The saying “Don't blame me - blame El Niño" has been used on car bumper stickers just as widely as by the stock exchange brokers during the crises times.
Scientists blame El Niño for collapse of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and disappearance of the Maya civilization in the ninth century of our era. There is a theory that both civilizations collapsed as a result of environmental disaster. Nowadays, the weather is equally challenging modern states. Scientists have already established correlation between drastic rise of civil warfare and hostility in various parts of the world and intensity of El Niño.
Artists don't stand aside either. El Niño has become a part of the mass culture. Jethro Tull recorded a song with the same name. In "Bridges Jones’ Diary" the main heroine is accused of being ignorant of the nature of this phenomenon. And in Switzerland, there’s an international literary and musical project called “El Niño. Songs of the Siberian seamen” (www.siberianseamen.ch) based on Vsevolod Bernstein's novel "El Niño".