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El Nino and La Nina: The Basics
What are El Niño and La Niña?
ENSO (El Niño Southern Oscillation) is the
name for a cyclical change in ocean
circulation, air pressure and weather patterns
in the Pacific Ocean.
The ENSO cycle has three parts, as shown in
the graph.
1.Normal conditions and weather patterns
2.El Niño conditions (in the Pacific these tend
to be the `opposite' of normal)
3.La Niña conditions, often referred to as
`exaggerated normal `
El Niño and La Niña can lead to extreme
weather events such as flooding and drought.…read more

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El Nino and La Nina: The Basics
The ENSO cycle…read more

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El Nino and La Nina: The Basics
Is ENSO weather or climate?
· Climate is usually defined as average conditions (temperature,
precipitation etc.) over a 30 year period.
· Weather means day to day variations in temperature,
precipitation, air pressure etc.
· ENSO falls somewhere between weather and climate.
· It is best thought of as a temporary change in climate, lasting
for a few months or years, that affects weather patterns.
· Most of the effects of ENSO are felt in the Pacific Basin, but
sometimes the effects can `spill out' of the Pacific and affect
other parts of the world.…read more

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El Nino and La Nina: The Basics
Normal conditions in the Pacific
· As the graphic on the next slide shows, normal conditions
in the Pacific involve an east to west air flow known as the
trade winds.
· These winds drive warm water west towards Australia and
Asia, allowing cold water to up-well off the west coast of
South America.
· High-pressure, subsiding air dominates over South America
meaning dry, hot conditions under clear skies.
· Low-pressure, convecting air sits over northern Australia
and Indonesia meaning hot, humid conditions and plenty of
rainfall.…read more

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El Nino and La Nina: The Basics
Normal conditions in the Pacific…read more

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