Studying the Heart Of El Niño, Where Its Weather Begins
(Click to enlarge) For reasons not completely understood, in some years the anti-cyclone is less powerful than normal. The weaker winds it produces fail to draw cold waters up to the ocean’s surface, thus opening the way for warm, nutrient-poor tropical waters. These changes in water temperature and climatic conditions are known as “El Nino”. (Credit: NOAA Photo Library)
A thousand miles south of Hawaii, the air at 45,000 feet above the equatorial Pacific was a shimmering gumbo of thick storm clouds and icy cirrus haze, all cooked up by the overheated waters below.
(From the New York Times/ by Henry Fountain) — In a Gulfstream jet more accustomed to hunting hurricanes in the Atlantic, researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were cruising this desolate stretch of tropical ocean where the northern and southern trade winds meet. It’s an area that becalmed sailors have long called the doldrums, but this year it is anything but quiet.
This is the heart of the strongest El Niño in a generation, one that is pumping moisture and energy into the atmosphere and, as a result, roiling weather worldwide.
Read the full article here: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/02/science/where-el-nino-weather-begins-pacific-ocean-noaa.html?ref=topics&_r=0