Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands
The uniqueness of life on the Galapagos Islands is well documented and, for nature lovers, a visit to this region can be an inspiring and life-changing experience. For those who embark on the Galapagos wildlife voyage, understanding the reasons behind its extreme diversity can contribute to a deeper appreciation of this remarkable part of the world.
Natural phenomena Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands
There is one natural phenomenon that can take great credit for the abundance and diversity of marine and terrestrial animals in the archipelago. The cool Humboldt now comes from Antarctica, driven by strong winds to flow to the west coast of South America and push the cool waters toward the path through the Galapagos Islands. It brings with it the nutrients it collects from dead and rotten objects on the seafloor, and when mixed with the warm Southern Equatorial currents, these nutrients rise from deep to maintain the plankton that form the basis of the food chain on the island. .
This current affects every aspect of life, both on land and around the ocean.
Water Temperature: Some people who visit Galapagos wildlife voyage are stunned by the cold water temperature, due to the Humboldt current. June to December is when the ocean is the coldest, because these months are marked by rising currents. From November to May, the flow is still there, but significantly weaker, allowing warmer waters to reach the islands. Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands
Weather Pattern: The current is also responsible for two different seasons experienced in the archipelago: cool winters and warmer monsoon seasons. In the dry months (from June to October), strong trade winds cause currents to rise. Because the waters around the island are cooler, less evaporation, and therefore fewer rain clouds are formed. While Galapagos wildlife cruises can be enjoyed at any time of the year, two seasons can offer a very different experience.
Wild Animals: Even beyond these remote islands, Humboldt’s presence can be felt and credited as “the world’s most productive sea eco system” – responsible for 20% of the world’s amazing marine catch. Every single species – reptiles, mammals, birds, invertebrates or marine – on every single island, including the surrounding waters, is influenced by and dependent on this strong current. Nutrient waters that are brought directly or indirectly provide a source of food that supports large wildlife populations. Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands
El Niño Effect
Current current effects may be most clearly visible when nonexistent. During a weather phenomenon known as El Niño, it is attenuated by warmer winds and decreases in air pressure. During these times, which occur cyclically every two to seven years, there is a marked decrease in the activity of local wildlife breeding. There are much fewer fish, and therefore a very large source of food in the archipelago, resulting in large numbers of animals starving to death.
The complex and definitive role played by these cold ocean currents in maintaining the rich biodiversity of the islands is an interesting aspect of one of the most interesting places on the planet. Humboldt Current: blood from the Galapagos Islands
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance writer with special interests in the Galapagos Islands. For those interested in the Galapagos wildlife voyage, Marissa recommends travel plans organized by Naturetrek, which has brought its unforgettable sightings of the various species in one of the most spectacular areas on Earth.