RESOURCES: Climate Swings

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Science  07 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5770, pp. 29a
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5770.29a

El Niño and La Niña periodically disrupt wind patterns and ocean temperatures, bringing deluges to some areas of the world and drought to others. Whether you're after background information on the climate phenomena or the latest data on warm-water volume in the tropical Pacific Ocean, zoom over to the El Niño Theme Page from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

El Niño occurs when warm water that normally pools in the western Pacific sloshes toward South America. By contrast, cool water predominates along the equator during La Niña. The Basics section explains these climatic extremes with primers, animations, and other resources. Visitors will also find the latest forecast—we're currently in a La Niña episode that scientists predict will continue for the next 3 to 6 months. Researchers can trawl numerous data sets from NOAA and other sources, which record variables such as atmospheric water vapor and sea level.

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