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What El Nino Could Mean For Your Business

Written by at 15:19

It may often be tricky to predict, particularly in Britain, but scientists are warning that we could be facing difficult weather for the rest of the year, as a weather event known as El Niño grows stronger. With the prospect of some tricky weather conditions occurring across the world, we take a look at El Niño, and what it could mean for Britain's weather and energy.

Definition Of El Niño:

Meaning Christ Child or Little Boy in Spanish, El Niño is a term used to describe a series of climatic fluctuations that affect weather patterns throughout the world, and results in a periodic increase in ocean temperatures. It was originally identified by fisherman in the 1600s, who were fishing off the coast of South America and realised the waters of the Pacific Ocean were unusually warm.

The opposite of El Niño is called La Niña, meaning Little Girl, which occurs when the trade winds blow unusually hard, known as upwelling, and the temperature of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean becomes colder than normal.

Why Does El Niño Occur?              

An El Niño event occurs when tropical Pacific Ocean trade winds drop, resulting in ocean temperatures become significantly warmer than usual. This phenomenon is part of a cycle that links the atmosphere around us and the ocean, although El Niño events are very irregular with often two to seven year intervals. The heat emitted from the ocean then rises into the atmosphere, which can cause drastic changes in climate across the world.

What Are The Effects Of El Niño?

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Scientists monitor El Niño so much because it can cause atmospheric change that reverberates throughout the entire world. El Niño events can cause droughts, heavy downpours, flooding, heat waves and exceedingly cold temperatures - it even has the ability to raise the temperature of the entire planet!

How Does El Niño 2015 Affect The UK?

In the UK the effects of El Niño aren’t really seen until the winter months where we may experience weather that’s colder than usual. However, the consequences of El Niño for Europe and the UK aren’t completely certain.  Research implies that El Niño results in drier and colder conditions in Northern Europe and wet, mild weather in the Southern Europe.

In the course of 2009/2010, El Niño was thought to have caused the winter across northern Europe to be exceptionally cold; however considering that there are so many other variables that affect Europe’s weather it is difficult to conclude that El Niño was the only cause.

The effects of El Niño are typically seen over North America. During their coldest seasons, El Niño can bring about warmer temperatures, particularly over central and western Canada and the northern and western United States. Areas such as Florida will experience wetter conditions, whereas the Pacific Northwest feels the opposite, and can often suffer from droughts.

What Was The Worst El Niño To Occur?

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The worst El Niño this century was between 1982 and 1983. During this time, the temperature of the ocean surface rose by several degrees above average. While small temperature fluctuations can have little or no effect, a strong change in the temperature caused severe climatic changes. Tahiti was hit by several typhoons, Australia suffered through a terrible drought, and Chile experienced record amounts of rainfall and flooding. In other areas it caused harvests to fail, disease to spread, imbalances in land wildlife and devastation to marine life and monsoons. The world was not prepared for this El Niño event as the tell-tale signs of strong winds from the east did not occur. This event is said to have cost the global economy an estimated $8 million in damages.

What To Expect From El Niño This Year

One of the consequences of the predicted El Niño later this year could be a boost in global temperatures, meaning that 2015 could become the hottest year on record globally. According to a forecast released by NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) El Niño now has an 85% probability of lasting throughout the winter and into 2016. The most affected regions will be outside of the UK and Europe, however we do still need to prepare for the possibility of a seriously cold winter.

How Can I Prevent An El Niño Winter From Affecting My Business?

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Since the UK is used to snow and nippy weather, we are better prepared than some to deal with the cold. Unfortunately, as we all know, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll make getting to work in the morning any easier. Here are a few preparation measures that you can take for the up and coming cold winter that could reduce El Niño’s potentially devastating impact on your business.

1) Find a way to telecommute

Winter in Britain can only mean one thing: dangerous driving conditions. From snow, sleet and the dreaded black ice, if the roads aren’t safe there is little anyone can do about it until the gritters get there. But just because your employees are stuck at home doesn’t necessarily mean productivity has to drop. Making resources readily available online is the best way to keep your business up and running when disaster strikes.

2) Snow tires and a backup plan

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Some employees may have already thought this far ahead, but if you haven’t, now’s the time to act. You could invest in some snow tyres for enough cars to be able to ferry your workforce, or even just the essential personnel to and from the workplace.

However, this has the potential to be a rather pricey measure, especially if you have a large workforce so you would need to work out the cost effectiveness of buying snow tyres vs the potential loss of cash flow as a result of employees not turning up.

Given that snow tyres aren’t likely to wear out after a couple of uses, when the snow finally melts and there is no longer the need for them you could store them until the following year, meaning that you’re already prepared for next year.

3) Grit

Every single year we have the same problem. As soon as the first day or two of snow has passed there’s a sudden a shortage of grit, meaning that ice is everywhere and is a real hazard to all.

Preparing for the worst in advance can reduce the risk of your business getting caught up in the health and safety implications of having ice around – potentially preventing you from having to pay for the injuries caused by staff members toppling head over feet.

4) High heating bills

Once you’ve dealt with all of the external palaver and burst your employee’s snow day hopes, you have to be able to keep everyone warm and toast and, as we all know, this costs an absolute fortune particularly in winter. 

Making sure that you‘re using the cheapest business energy tariff available is the best option if you want to avoid extortion. Many business owners are put off the idea of switching energy suppliers, thinking it’ll take up enormous amounts of their precious time.  To help with that, we’ve devised a solution that takes no more than 60 seconds searches up to 20 UK energy suppliers. Our search process is completely transparent and will instantly provide you with all of the best tariffs available to your business along with the prices (and savings!)

To get started simply pop your postcode in the box on the right hand side of our home page. You can be confident that you’re paying the best rate for you because we guarantee to beat your initial supplier renewal quote or we will give you £1,000 cash, which you can put to better use, like some snow tyres!

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