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7 April 2020
NASA study adds a pinch of salt to El Niño models
When modeling the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) ocean-climate cycle, adding satellite sea surface salinity — or saltiness — data significantly improves model accuracy, according to a new study. ENSO is an irregular cycle of warm and cold climate events called El Niño and La Niña. In normal years, strong easterly trade winds blow from the Americas toward southeast Asia, but in an El Niño year, those winds are reduced and sometimes even reversed. Warm water that was “piled up” in the western Pacific flows back toward the Americas, changing atmospheric pressure and moisture to produce droughts in Asia and more frequent storms and floods in the Americas. The reverse pattern is called a La Niña, in which the ocean in the eastern Pacific is cooler than normal.
25 November 2019
Weather in Malaysia provides early forecasts for UK, study finds
“It was once said that the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil could set off a tornado in Texas, and our study provides new evidence of the remarkable interconnectedness of the world’s weather” – Robert Lee, University of Reading
6 August 2019
How the Pacific Ocean influences long-term drought in the Southwestern U.S.
New research explores what conditions in the ocean and in the atmosphere prolong droughts in the Southwestern U.S. The answer is complex, according to a study published Aug. 6 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
13 February 2019
Mining climate models for seasonal forecasts
A team of scientists has figured out a shortcut way to produce skillful seasonal climate forecasts with a fraction of the computing power normally needed.
1 February 2016
Understanding the 2015–16 El Niño and its impact on phytoplankton
This is part of a new series of posts that highlight the importance of Earth and space science data and its contributions to society. Posts in this series showcase data facilities and data scientists; explain how Earth and space science data is collected, managed and used; explore what this data tells us about the planet; and delve into the challenges and issues involved in managing and using data. This series …
22 December 2014
All warmed up and nowhere to go: The missing El Niño of 2014
In 1997, a record-breaking El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean brought rain to California, flooding to Peru, and drought to Africa. Earlier this year scientists said that warm currents in the Pacific Ocean presaged the biggest El Niño event since the record-breaking 1997-1998 season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration put the likelihood of a major Northern Hemisphere El Niño at 80 percent. But despite high expectations, the predicted El Niño of 2014 has ultimately fizzled. In a talk entitled “Who Killed the 2014 El Niño?” at the American Geophysical Union conference Thursday, NOAA oceanographer and past president of AGU Michael McPhaden laid out the leading suspects in this climatic whodunnit – including weak westerly winds, contrary trends elsewhere in the ocean, and overall climate-related ocean warming.