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Chapter 7 Ocean Circulation: El Ni ño. Essentials of Oceanography 7 th Edition Thurman/Trujillo. El Ni ño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

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chapter 7 ocean circulation el ni o

Chapter 7 Ocean Circulation:El Niño

Essentials of Oceanography

7th Edition


el ni o southern oscillation enso
El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
  • El Niño (Spanish for “the Child” in reference to baby Jesus) = warm surface current in equatorial eastern Pacific that occurs periodically around Christmastime
  • Southern Oscillation = change in atmospheric pressure over Pacific Ocean accompanying El Niño
  • ENSO describes a combined oceanic-atmospheric disturbance
questions about el ni o
Questions about El Niño
  • What does an El Niño have to do with the price of eggs?
  • What is La Niña?
  • What kind of weather does El Niño bring to southern California?
  • Is this an El Niño year?
anomaly maps
Anomaly maps
  • Anomaly (a = without, nomos = law) maps show the difference from normal conditions
  • Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomaly maps are useful for identifying unusually warm or cool water:
    • Positive SST anomaly values = water warmer than normal
    • Negative SST anomaly values = water cooler than normal
january 1998 sst anomaly map
January 1998 SST anomaly map

Pg. 220

Figure 7-19a

january 2000 sst anomaly map
January 2000 SST anomaly map

Pg. 220

Figure 7-19b

el ni o la ni a weather in southern california
El Niño/La Niña & weather in southern California
  • Typical weather during El Niño?
    • Strong El Niños: Lots of powerful storms (good waves), lots of rain (1997-1998 = more than double our normal rainfall), but not always…
    • Moderate/Weak El Niños: can have drought conditions or lots of rain or no effect at all
  • Typical weather during La Niña?
    • Extremely dry conditions (2000-2001 = 1/3 normal rainfall)
el ni o r ecurrence interval
El Niño recurrence interval
  • Typical recurrence interval for El Niños = 2-12 years
  • Pacific has alternated between El Niño and La Niña events since 1950

Figure 7-20

Pg. 221

effects of severe el ni os
Effects of severe El Niños

Pg. 222

Figure 7-21

el ni o visualizations
El Niño visualizations
  • Internet site for El Niño animation
  • Latest SST anomaly map of the tropical Pacific
forecast sst anomalies can we expect another el ni o year
Forecast SST anomalies: Can we expect another El Niño year?
  • 9-month forecast of tropical Pacific SST anomalies
  • Alternate link for 9-month forecast of tropical Pacific SST anomalies (from Palomar Oceanography Home Page)
end of el ni o presentation

End of El Niño presentation

Essentials of Oceanography

7th Edition