El Desierto Florido
The exceptional desert bloom of 2015 in Atacama
Every few years, the driest place on earth, the Atacama desert, receives an unusual amount of rain. Not much, but just enough to reach seeds and bulbs that have been in a latent or dormant state, and causes them to germinate and flower in early spring.
Over 200 different species of flowers start blossoming, of which most of them are endemic to the Atacama region. The most common species are "garra de León" (lion claw), "pata de guanaco" (guanaco paw), and the "añañuca" (a special lily). The different species germinate at different times through the flowering desert period.
The phenomenon of the desert bloom is linked to El Niño, the cycle of warm and cold sea surface temperature. In its cold fase El Niño causes lots of rainfall in September and October.
El Niño causes ocassional warm ocean water temperatures which can lead to an increase in evaporation and therefore precipitation. It brings about a magical boost of life and color in a usually desolate landscape.
Usual view on the Desert
Flowered carpets during the Desert bloom