El Nino Essay

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the Pacific Northwest, conditions would likely be wetter than normal ( NOAA, 1998).

Throughout this process the east-to-west trade winds are stronger than usual causing the atmospheric and oceanic waves to increase in power resulting in the cold water, which normally exists along the coast of South America, to extend into the central equatorial Pacific (NASA, 2009).

The model states that trade winds generally flow in an east-to-west direction over the equatorial Pacific Ocean and tend to drag the surface water along with them (Ross, T., et al. This results in the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the United States of America being significantly colder than in Australia (Chamberlain, 2008).

The thermocline, which is an abrupt temperature gradient marked by a layer of water above and blow at different temperatures (Chamberlin, 2008), is deep in the western Pacific and shallow in the eastern Pacific.

The coastal areas of Peru are 1 where the air subsides; this suppresses cloud formation and rainfall resulting in the hot, arid, desert conditions at the coast (Holden, J., 2012).

La Niña, translated as “little Girl’ in Spanish (NOAA, 1998), is the term given when the sea surface temperature is cooler- than-normal in the equatorial Pacific (Met Office, 2012).

The sea surface temperatures along the equator can fall as much as 7 degrees Fahrenheit below normal during a La Niña event.

This process subsequently results in less moisture residing in the air and therefore less rain along the North and South American coastlines and in the central Pacific (Chamberlin, 2008).

Bejerknes (1969) was the first person to realize that El Niño does not just affect the coastline of Peru, but the entire tropical Pacific Ocean (Holden, J., 2012).

Consequently, the term El Niño is currently used to describe the sustained warming of the sea surface temperature concentrated in the central-east equatorial Pacific (Met Office, 2012).

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