| Scientists do not collect
coral samples from just anywhere. The location of a site is extremely important.
Paleoclimatologists are interested only in those sites where a clear, identifiable
climate signal can be detected. Scientists want to spend their time studying
an area that will give them the clearest picture of past climate
change and so they explore areas of the globe where climate changes
have been most dramatic.
El Niño transforms the weather
in the Pacific Ocean significantly, making it an important area for the
study of climate history. An El Niño is the appearance of warm
waters in the eastern Pacific. El Niño is Spanish for the Christ
Child originally named by South American fishermen because the event occurs
near Christmas time. Because El Niño waters are much warmer than
waters in other years, dramatically different regional climate patterns
Sarah H. Dawson
NOAA Paleoclimatology Program
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