This Subtropical Islands are favored by the Humboldt Current, which keeps the islands cool and rainless most of the year, a rare place where penguins and corals exist side by side. This cold Antarctic current brings rich nutrients, thus fish are abundant and it becomes a tropical paradise for the marvelous creatures of the sea.
In the last years, the ocean waters have warmed rapidly, heating up as much as 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, within months. The Galápagos are becoming warmer due to the earlier start of El Niño, Spanish for “the boy child,” a reference coined by Peruvian fisherman because the changes can occur around Christmas.
The Santa Cruz Island, the most populated island of the Galapagos, has 7 different microclimates or biological zones starting on the highest mountain peaks and finishing down on the coast. The highest point in Santa Cruz is Mt. Crocker which sits 870 m / 2854 ft above sea level.
These ecological communities are naturally defined by the complex weather characteristics of Santa Cruz and are readily distinguished by their flora. The wind, the rain, the sun plus the different elevations determine the type of vegetation that will grow at each altitude.
The Royal Palm extends from the Pampa zone, passing through the Miconia Zone, Brown Zone and onto the Scalesia Zone. As the Galapagos Islands enjoys a Sub Tropical Climate, the weather is changeable around the ends of each season.
From December to June, we enjoy a warm and wetter season; the water and air temperatures are warmer and the seas are calmer. Hot sun and tropical rain showers are expected.
From July to November, a cooler & dry feeling is expected. Strong winds make the water cooler and rougher. The Garua, a cool and moist mist forms up in the Highlands. The Miconia Highland forests are kept green and lush, while the sea-level and shorelines have less rain, the weather can change abruptly, be prepared!
“The Galápagos marine system is analogous to a roller coaster,” said Jon D. Witman, a professor of biology at Brown University who studies coral ecosystems in the Galápagos, noting that the spikes of hot temperatures were followed by spells of falling temperatures, known as La Niña.
The problem with global warming, Dr. Witman said, is that the baseline from which these swings occur is rising as the ocean temperatures do. This, as the intensity and frequency of El Niño, is increasing.