NASA-funded researchers have discovered El Niño’s soggy secret. When scientists identified rain patterns in the Pacific Ocean, they discovered the secret of how El Niño moves rainfall around the globe during the life of these periodic climate events when waters warm in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
EL NINOS PEAK - RAIN IN RED
Areas that are wet (red) or dry (blue) during the wintertime (December-January-February) during the peak of El Niño. CREDIT: NASA
EL NINO POST-PEAK - RED AREAS BECOME WET
Areas that go from dry to wet (red) or wet to dry (blue) from the summer before the El Niño peak to the summer after the El Niño peak. This is the traditional view of El Niño evolution. CREDIT: NASA
The results may help scientists improve rainfall forecasts around the globe during the life of an El Niño, and may also offer new insights into how an El Niño develops.
The findings were highlighted in a paper authored by Scott Curtis of the University of Maryland - Baltimore County, Baltimore, Md., and Bob Adler, of Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The study appeared in a recent issue of the American Geophysical Union’s Journal of Geophysical Research.
Rob Gutro | Goddard Space Flight Center
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