Tak­ing the Heat

The Playa Times Riviera Maya's English Newspaper - - >editorial - BY BEATRIZ LU­CAS

Cli­mate plays a big part in a trav­eler’s plans, ei­ther as a sea­soned ex­pat or those sim­ply look­ing for va­ca­tion. This year, the hu­mid­ity started to rise in May, all the while re­main­ing con­sis­tently and un­bear­ably hot. The as­so­ci­ated en­vi­ron­men­tal, so­cial as­pects have also taken the heat.

Right now, in the Riviera Maya, we would nor­mally edge into the rainy sea­son, cool­ing us down with re­fresh­ing down­pours.

How­ever, the U.S. Na­tional Oceano­graphic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion (NOAA) just re­leased a state­ment last Thurs­day, Septem­ber 10, stat­ing that the cur­rent El Niño has be­come a strong one. This change in cur­rents has un­de­ni­ably been be­hind some of the en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors that have made the sum­mer of 2015 one to re­mem­ber.

For rea­sons as yet un­known, El Niño is a phe­nom­e­non that takes place ev­ery two to seven years, and can last for six to 18 months. El Niño events are con­sid­ered strong when the tem­per­a­ture in­creases by two de­grees Cel­sius above the long-term av­er­age. This year, the largest sub­sur­face tem­per­a­tures in the equa­to­rial Pa­cific ex­ceeded six de­grees Cel­sius. In the Caribbean, the nor­mal wind cur­rents were in­ter­rupted, and a re­ver­sal of weather pat­terns oc­curred, re­sult­ing in a re­duced fre­quency of hur­ri­canes and tor­ren­tial rains.

These sub­tle changes may not seem like much, but al­gae blooms and plant growth are di­rectly re­lated to tem­per­a­ture. El Niño is cer­tainly one of the main cul­prits be­hind the over­whelm­ing sar­gas­sum blan­kets of July and Au­gust, among other man­made fac­tors.

Added to the ab­nor­mal weather pat­terns, for those who live here, the end of Au­gust came with more sur­pris­ing and dev­as­tat­ing news. The fed­eral high­way near Can­cun caved in -luck­ily with no ca­su­al­ties-, and two young girls were struck dead by light­ning while swimming in the sea one evening.

These phe­nomenons are un­heard of nor­mally, and as a re­sult, they res­onated with the whole pop­u­la­tion of the Mayan coast.

De­spite these


ev­ery­one pitched in to make sure the road was up and run­ning again within less than 24 hours, and the fu­neral ser­vice was in­un­dated with fam­i­lies, com­mu­nity mem­bers, and friends to grieve the loss of two young Playenses.

As beau­ti­ful and friendly as any city can be, nat­u­ral dis­as­ters are un­avoid­able. These are ex­pe­ri­ences you share, by de­fault, with a se­lect few.

On this trip, don’t just fo­cus on your sun­tan. Make the most of any trav­el­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, whether as an ex­pat or on a quick beach break, and get to know the lo­cals, stop and chat and ex­change ex­pe­ri­ences with them, find out more about those who keep this re­gion mov­ing.

When we cre­ated The Playa Times our aim was sim­ple. We wanted to es­tab­lish a pro­gres­sive com­mu­nity pa­per that is ap­peal­ing, in­for­ma­tive and en­ter­tain­ing to new­com­ers, as told from the per­spec­tive of those that live here, and make a pos­i­tive and val­ued con­tri­bu­tion to the com­mu­nity.

In the short term, we can’t al­ways avoid nat­u­ral dis­as­ters but we can pro­vide each other with the sup­port we need to over­come these tribu­la­tions.

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