The world's driest desert has burst into bloom after record rains this year

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Chile's Atacama desert, the world's driest, has been inundated with rain this year, which in the last few weeks has resulted in carpet of pink wild flowers and other plants in parts of the desert. Visitors to the desert have been posting pictures of the rare sights on Instagram:


In March this year, the rain was particularly relentless. The desert was soaked in seven years' worth of rain, causing serious flooding which killed at least nine people. The region received 0.9 inches of rain in one 12-hour period, the Weather Channel reported, in stark contrast to the average annual rainfall the area receives, 0.13 inches. Climate scientists say the increase in rainfall this year is associated with the El Niño weather cycle, which causes warmer ocean temperatures and more precipitation.


“Unusually warm ocean temperatures approximately [1.8 degrees] above average off of the coast meant that high amounts of water vapor were available to fuel the storm and generate exceptionally heavy rains,” wrote Weather Underground. "Heavy precipitation events are common in Chile during El Niño events, like we are experiencing now. El Niño brings warmer than average waters to the Pacific coast of South America where Chile lies."

A photo posted by Antonio XCh (@antchuvix) on Oct 21, 2015 at 9:05pm PDT

El Niño has been tied to a longer and more intensive hurricane season this year in the Northern Hemisphere, and could also impact crops in Australia, New Zealand, and America according to Bloomberg.

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