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Ocean Currents and El Nino/La Nina

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Michael Miller

on 18 February 2016

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Transcript of Ocean Currents and El Nino/La Nina

El Nino and La Nina
El Nino vs La Nina
La Niña means The Little Girl. La Niña is sometimes called El Viejo, anti-El Niño, or simply "a cold event" or "a cold episode".
Why La Nina?
El Niño was originally recognized by fishermen off the coast of South America because of unusually warm water in the Pacific ocean, occurring near the beginning of the year.

Warm water mean less fish to catch.

El Niño means The Little Boy or Christ child in Spanish. This name was used for the tendency of the phenomenon to arrive around Christmas.
Why El Nino?
The impacts of El Niño and La Niña at these latitudes are most clearly seen in wintertime.
When can we notice this?
La Nina year versus Normal year: Ocean surface temperature
The Trade winds strengthen in the Central and Western Pacific.

The trade winds bring up more cold water.

This makes the sea surface temperatures stay cold.
Why does La Nina happen?
La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.

La Niña tends to bring nearly opposite effects of El Niño to the United States — wetter and cooler than normal conditions across the north and dryer and warmer than normal conditions across much of the south.

La Niña (Cold) Phases: 1904, 1908, 1910, 1916, 1924, 1928, 1938, 1950, 1955, 1964, 1970, 1973, 1975, 1988, 1998-2000, 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2010-2011
La Nina - What is it?
El Nino year versus Normal year: Ocean surface temperatures
Normal year versus El Nino year
The Trade winds slow down in the Central and Western Pacific.
The colder water that the trade winds usually bring up, stays lower in the ocean.
This makes the sea surface temperatures stay high (warm).
El Nino Years: 1902, 1905, 1911, 1914, 1918, 1923, 1925, 1930, 1932, 1939, 1941, 1951, 1953, 1957, 1965, 1969, 1972, 1976, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2002, 2006, 2009-2010
Why does El Nino happen?
El Nino causes increased rainfall in the southern United States and drier and warmer conditions in the northern states.

El Nino causes drought in the Western Pacific for places like Australia.
El Nino effects
It has important consequences for weather around the globe.
This phenomenon is not totally predictable but on average occurs once every four years.
It usually lasts for about 18 months after it begins.
El Nino - When and how long?
El Nino refers to the irregular warming in the sea surface temperatures from the coasts of Peru and Ecuador to the equatorial central Pacific.
El Nino is a disruption of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific ocean.
El Nino - What is it?
Click on the link below and watch the El Nino video:
http://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/environment/environment-natural-disasters/landslides-and-more/el-nino/
Effects of El Nino
The Effect of El Nino/La Nina on Climate Change
Watch this video to learn information about El Nino/La Nina and how it could affect climate change: http://www.climate.gov/news-features/videos/effects-climate-change-el-ni%C3%B1o-and-la-ni%C3%B1a
The End
Go to this website to analyze the El Nino years (in red) vs the La Nina years (in blue):
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml

Answer the questions in your notes.
El Nino and La Nina years analysis
Ocean Currents
Watch this ocean currents video:
http://www.montereyinstitute.org/noaa/lesson08.html
A cohesive stream of sea water that circulates through the oceans.

There is a complex system of ocean currents in the world.

What are they?
Ocean Currents diagram: challenge level interest
Gulf Stream
An ocean current in the Atlantic ocean that runs along the southeast coast of the U.S.
Has followed it's course for millenia.
It is a strong ocean current that carries warm water from the tropics to the high latitudes.
What affects Ocean Currents?
Winds affect ocean currents.

The uneven heating of the earth affects ocean currents.

Coriolis effect affect ocean currents.

Location of continents affect ocean currents.
Ocean currents can affect global climate.

Example: Due to the Gulf Stream current, many places in Europe have a much warmer climate than places in Canada that are at the same latitude.
Ocean Currents and Climate
**
Surface vs Deep Currents
-
new section please write this in your notes.
Surface Currents are
Along the surface of the ocean(the top several hundred meters).
Mainly moves water from east or west.
Winds affect these the most.
Continents and land masses can act as barriers and deflect the currents at the surface.
Deep Currents are
Along the bottom of the ocean.
Mainly moves water from equator to poles.
Affected by the density of the water.
Temperature and salinity (how salty it is) affect the water's density.

Both are affected by the Coriolis Effect and move water around the Earth.
Full transcript