El Nio Watch Begins

October 3, 2001


Is a new El Nio brewing in the Pacific Ocean? A Sept. 7 statement by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center says there is no consensus yet but growing evidence points toward such a future (see the ENSO Diagnostic Discussions). El Nios occur when unusually warm water invades South and Central American coastal waters toward the end of the year, causing changes in fish populations, rainfall, and weather across North and South America. El Nios generally bring wet weather to the sunbelt states. Minor events tend to increase winter and spring precipitation in the Intermountain West, while major ones bring mild, dry weather there.

NOAA's general El Nio site links to animation, maps, and details about regional impacts. NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Lab offers real-time data from moored ocean buoys online.

Weekly updates from the climate prediction center are available here. For emailed updates write to this address.

NASA's web pages offer graphics from old El Nio events, and may offer current information soon.