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23. El Niño

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Published on Apr 5, 2012

The Atmosphere, the Ocean and Environmental Change (GG 140)

The El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon is the primary mode of variability in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It is composed of two extreme states, El Niño and La Niña. The oscillation between these states can be seen in measurements of sea surface temperature (SST), sea level pressure, thermocline depth, and easterly trade wind strength. Changes in SST and pressure lead to shifting of convective activity across the equatorial Pacific. Changes in the strength of the easterly trade winds lead to changes in the depth of the thermocline, which affect coastal upwelling offshore of South America. If upwelling is reduced, primary productivity is also reduced. The effect of ENSO on atmospheric convection and coastal upwelling makes it an important factor for both agriculture and fishing industries.

00:00 - Chapter 1. El Niño and La Niña
10:08 - Chapter 2. Terminology
11:33 - Chapter 3. Symptoms of El Niño
18:54 - Chapter 4. ENSO Indices and Ocean Water Property
24:40 - Chapter 5. Current ENSO Data
39:45 - Chapter 6. Ice in the Climate System
42:39 - Chapter 7. Physical Properties of Ice

Complete course materials are available at the Open Yale Courses website: http://oyc.yale.edu

This course was recorded in Fall 2011.

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