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What do El Niño and La Niña weather systems have to do with team building?

So what do changing weather patterns arising from temperature variations in the Pacific Ocean mean for team building events in Australia?

Quite a lot if you've ever seen the panicked experssion on the face of an event planner trying desperately to change an outdoor event to an indoor one at the last minute on a rainy day.

So if you like to think ahead about potentially adverse weather conditions wreaking havoc on your event planning, the weather is of great interest indeed.

A recent El Niño system has brought relatively dry weather, but a predicted strong shift towards the La Niña system will likely bring higher than average rainfall, and possibly large weather events.

With team building events you will usually get just one shot to get it right, and in the fixed time and space that has been set aside for that event. This is particularly so in a conference and meeting environment.

To avoid stressful last minute scrambling for a Plan B on the day, it really does pay to think ahead and have weather in mind during a potentially wet period.

All too often it’s hard for event planners to visualize just how much chaos can ensue during an event when rain threatens the viability of a purely outdoor format (such as an Amazing Race style team building approach).

Sometimes disposable rain ponchos might be used to carry on as planned, but rain can really lower team morale and quite literally put the dampener on an occasion (not to mention safety concerns if storms erupt).

It’s often better to arrange a dedicated indoor Plan B event option for wet weather in advance and ensure that the space to run it is also secured in advance.

Whilst there are usually some additional costs associated with this, it is preferable to failed event and disappointed participants.

The other alternative is to simply go with a purely indoor event option from the start, or at least one that can work indoors and outdoors to make sure that the weather cannot intrude upon your planning.

Some feel that the see saw effect between the two major systems may be particularly strong in 2016.

Let’s hope not, but it might pay to plan ahead for any proposed outdoor team building event formats this year. Think about Plan B's well in advance and you might just save yourself a lot of grief on the day.

Why are they called El Niño and La Niña?

The term El Niño translates from Spanish as 'the boy-child'. Peruvian fishermen originally used the term to describe the appearance, around Christmas, of a warm ocean current off the South American coast. It is now the commonly accepted term to describe the warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. La Niña translates as 'girl-child' and is the opposite ENSO phase to El Niño.

Australian Bureau of Meteorology

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