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Posts Tagged ‘Trade winds’

La Niña Strengthening

Posted by feww on September 19, 2010

La Niña Conditions Continue to Strengthen Across the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.


Above map shows a 10-day average of sea-surface height and was acquired by the Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 satellite on September 6, 2010. Higher water surface areas signifying warmer temperatures are shades of red-brown, and areas of lower water surface (cooler) are blue. White areas are normal condition.  “The El Niño weakens the westward trade winds that normally blow over the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Those winds keep eastern Pacific waters cool and concentrate warm waters in the western Pacific. A weakening of trade winds enables warm waters to gradually spread eastward, heating up the central Pacific. La Niña typically follows El Niño, and causes essentially the opposite conditions. La Niña strengthens the trade winds, spreading cool water from the South American coast to the central Pacific. This see-saw pattern of El Niño and La Niña can drive large-scale weather changes, especially in the tropics.” Full caption here… Source: NASA E/O. Click image to enlarge. Download large image (1 MB, PNG).

Sea Surface Temperatures


50 KM Global Analysis – updated weekly.

Current Conditions


Source: NWS/CPC/NOAA

Current SST Anomalies

SST Anomalies During El Niño

Current SST Anomalies
Above image shows SST Anomalies during the 2009 El
Niño episode, saved on July 27, 2009 and included for comparison.

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Posted in El Niño, El Niño conditions, El Niño episode, El Niño impact, La Niña, La Niña episode | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Impact of El Niño and La Niña on Rainfall

Posted by feww on October 24, 2009

How El Niño and La Niña affect Rainfall

El Niño 1997
ENSO_sst_rainfall_anomalies_198812

La Niña, 1988
ENSO_sst_rainfall_anomalies_199712

El Niño and its counterpart La Niña alter weather patterns across the world. These images show the strongest El Niño and La Niña events of the past twenty years and their impact on rainfall over North and South America.

The top image pair shows the El Niño event of 1997, and the direct correlation between warm surface waters and rainfall. The 1997 El Niño was unusually strong and brought heavy rain to northwest South America and the southern United States. Cooler ocean temperatures caused drought in Australia and Indonesia, as shown in the 1997 rainfall anomaly image.

The lower image pair shows La Niña in 1988 . La Niña occurs when the eastern Pacific off the coast of South America cools. The unusually cold ocean cools the atmosphere above it. The cool, dense air means less  rain falls over the cold waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific. Image reveals that the drought reached Peru and Ecuador in northwest South America. Globally, La Niña causes unusually heavy rain in India, Southeast Asia, Australia, and southeastern Africa.

NASA Earth Observatory images by Rob Simmon and Jesse Allen, based on data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer and the Global Precipitation Climatology Project at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Caption by Holli Riebeek. [Edited for brevity by FEWW]

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Posted in Australian drought, rain in India, South America weather, Southeast Asia rain, southeastern Africa | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »