Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NASA Satellites See El Nino Creep in From the Indian Ocean

02.12.2004


The image shows what happens when a very strong El Nino strikes surface waters in the Central equatorial Pacific Ocean. The sequence shows warm water anomalies (red) develop in the Central Pacific Ocean. Winds that normally blow in a westerly direction weaken allowing the easterly winds to push the warm water up against the South American Coast. Credit: NASA


Scientists studied the winds and rains in the eastern Indian Ocean for hints at developing El Ninos. They used that information to create an "Index" or gauge that accurately predicted the El Nino of 2002-2003.

El Nino is signaled by a warming of the ocean surface off the western coast of South America that occurs every 4 to 12 years when cold, nutrient-rich water does not come up from the ocean bottom. It causes die-offs of plankton and fish and affects Pacific jet stream winds, altering storm tracks and creating unusual weather patterns in various parts of the world. The researchers used the TRMM and QuikScat satellites to track wind, rainfall, and warmer sea surface temperatures moving from the Indian to the Pacific Ocean in early 2002, before the 2002-03 El Nino.

During the winter of 2001-2002, climate conditions in the eastern Indian Ocean changed dramatically. Westerly winds increased and the weather flip-flopped from dry to wet.



Scott Curtis, Assistant Professor at East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C., and Robert Adler, George Huffman and Guojun Gu, all of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. used NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) and QuikScat satellite data ranging from November 2001 to March 2002. "This study expands on recent work linking rain and wind changes over the last 25 years to the development of El Ninos," Curtis said. The earlier study examined changes in rainfall from week to week, and the total amount of wintertime rainfall in key locations of the eastern Indian Ocean. They found these data points could be a sign of early shifts in climate leading to the development of El Ninos since 1979. The researchers then examined winds recreated by computer models, but did not find the same connections.

Curtis suggests that for the 1979-2002 period changes in rainfall in the eastern Indian Ocean are a better predictor for the onset of an El Nino than winds. Therefore, the El Nino Onset Index (EOI) was created using only rainfall data.

The scientists noticed the first weather system from the eastern Indian Ocean followed the Equator and the second traveled further south closer to Australia. In the second example, warm waters appeared first, followed by heavy rainfall in the eastern Indian Ocean. Then, strong westerly winds and a cooling of the sea surface developed. These events moved through the ocean area between Indonesia and Australia, suggesting a connection between rising air, wind, and sea surface temperatures over a period of days. These studies provided a basis for how changes in the East Indian Ocean are linked to following events in the Pacific Ocean, including the start of El Nino events.

There is a weak El Nino underway, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which the EOI did not predict. Curtis explained that the EOI may not be sensitive enough to register weak episodes. In addition, the current El Nino is not basin-wide, as the far eastern Pacific Ocean is cooler than normal.

In the future, NASA will launch the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission which will contribute to the EOI, as TRMM does currently.

Rob Gutro | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nasa.gov/goddard
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/elnino_ocean.html

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>