According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—in other words, a legitimate source), this winter is going to be the strongest El Niño in 18 years. An El Niño year occurs when there is a change in air pressure and an increase in temperature in the tropical Pacific that results in drastic changes in weather patterns. This phenomenon happens at irregular intervals every 2-7 years.
So what did this mean for me? A very rainy spring.
When Charlie and I traveled to Mendoza in mid-October, it was supposed to be dry and warm (Mendoza receives fewer than 10 inches of rainfall a year). Instead, Charlie and I were greeted with temperatures in the 40s and constant rain. It felt more like Massachusetts in April as opposed to Mendoza (a semi-arid desert region) during the dry season. This was not a problem, however, as we went more for the wine and less for the hiking!
The effects of El Niño were also noticeable in Buenos Aires, where it only warmed up to typical spring temperatures by the final weeks of the program. However, nobody complained about these abnormal conditions because it only added to the Argentine experience.
For example, in mid-November a large group of IES Abroad students went to a World Cup qualifying match between Brazil and Argentina one Thursday night, but after arriving all the way to the stadium in the pouring rain, the match was postponed. My housemates returned home soaked to the bone after trekking through puddles that rose above their knees. This proved to be a good opportunity to buy a poncho as a souvenir.
Furthermore, when the weather did finally improve, we were all so appreciative of sunshine and warm temperatures that we spent as much time outside as possible…even during finals week. I felt especially fortunate that my homestay had access to the roof of the building so that I could invite friends over to have wine and hors d'oeuvres while we watched the sunset.
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<div>My name is Lucy McNamara and I am twenty years old. I am from Bolton, Massachusetts but am currently studying <span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">history as a junior at the University of Virginia. I am the tenth out of twelve children in my family, thus I am an </span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">experienced arguer and am considering law school! I love to read, write, cook, and take photographs, and I could not be </span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">more excited to share all my new experiences in Buenos Aires with you.</span></div>