El Niño
online meteorology guide

Graphic by: Yiqi Shao

Periodically, the flourishing fish populations commonly found off the west coast of Peru South America are replaced by the sight of dead fish littering the water and beaches. Unusual weather conditions occur around the globe as jet streams, storm tracks and monsoons are shifted. Such disarray is caused by a warm current of water that appears every three to seven years in the eastern Pacific Ocean called El Niño. This module introduces El Niño, conditions are responsible for its occurrence, plus the impact it has on the rest of the world. The El Niño instructional module has been organized into the following sections:

Last Update: 04/28/98
Introduces El Niño, when El Niño events have been recorded and how it compares to La Niña.

'97-'98 Event
Provides a brief insight into the most recent El Niño event.

Introduces upwelling, the thermocline and how they impact local sea life populations.

Non-El Niño Years
Typical oceanic and atmospheric conditions that exist in the tropical Pacific when no El Niño is present..

El Niño Events
Conditions that lead to an El Niño event and how El Niño influences upwelling processes, tropical rainfall and local fish populations.

Sea Surface Temperatures
El Niño visualized through sea surface temperature anomaly plots.

Impacts on Weather
The influence of El Niño on weather conditions worldwide.

Economic Impacts
Reduction in local fish populations, which in turn affect local industry and market prices worldwide.

Detection and Prediction
Methods and resources used by NOAA for detecting and predicting the presence of El Niño.

Those who contributed to the development of this module.

Terms for using data resources. CD-ROM available.
Credits and Acknowledgments for WW2010.
Department of Atmospheric Sciences (DAS) at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.