The Samarco disaster: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff flies over the Mariana region | Photo: Stuckert Filho

Brazil suffered one of the worst environmental tragedies in the country's history. A mining dam located in Minas Gerais collapsed and spilled 196 million cubic feet (60 million cubic meters) of mud into rivers, communities, and the ocean.

The Samarco iron ore operation is a joint venture between BHP Billiton and Vale. On the 5th November, a tailings dam broke and contaminated waters of the rivers that flow towards the Atlantic Ocean.

At least 11 people lost their lives, the water supply was cut, hundreds of thousands were directly affected by the dam failure. The Samarco disaster killed an undetermined number of fish and destroyed some of the best surf breaks Brazil has to offer. Boca do Rio Doce, near Regencia, is only an example.

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El Niño: the world water temperatures in September 1997 | Photo: NOAA

El Niño and La Niña are complex climate cycles that occur in the Pacific Ocean around the equator. They have the power to affect the entire weather around the globe due to drastic variations in the oceanic temperatures.

They change the odds of floods, drought, heat waves, and cold seasons for different regions, even raising global temperatures. On average, El Niño and La Niña occur every two to eight years.

The Pacific Ocean has consistent winds blowing from east to west. These trade winds push warm water near the surface towards Asia and Australasia. On the opposite side of the Pacific, around Central and South America, cold water is pulled up from deep down in the ocean, in a process named upwelling.

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Montauk: sandbag wall are not a solution

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) started to build a sandbag wall in New York's most famous surfing region. The surf breaks will inevitably change.

Montauk, Long Island, might be lost forever. The spot is one of the best peaks on the entire East Coast, but local authorities still believe that artificial coastal protection is the best solution against flooding.

After multiple public discussion, protests and court recommendations, the Army Corps of Engineers got the green light and began stacking more that 14,000 geotextile bags along 3,100 feet of dune.

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