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Paleo Slide Set: Coral Paleoclimatology:Natural Record of Climate change for High School Student
Global effects ("teleconnections") of ENSO warm events.
Other changes occur across the Pacific during an El Niño. As the warm water moves eastward towards the central Pacific, the westward descending cool, dry air brings high pressure, drought conditions and often wild fires to Indonesia. The low pressure zone usually located over Indonesia, shifts to the mid-Pacific. This region of low pressure coupled with the rising moist air above the warm water pool, greatly increases rainfall to the mid-Pacific. This shifting of the pressure zones is known as the Southern Oscillation.

The impacts of El Niño, extend far beyond the South American coast and the Indonesian interior. As this map shows, El Niño events produce ripples of change throughout the world's climate system; ripples that occur far away but are related are known as teleconnection. Teleconnections stretch across the globe, from flooding in the Peruvian Andes and the southeastern United States, to severe drought in Indonesia and central India, to voracious wildfires that hurtle across the forests and brush of eastern Australia.

An El Niño ends as the Pacific waters become warmer and the water at the equator flows from west to east and also towards the poles. Gradually, this flow decreases the pool of warm water at the equator, which leads to intensification of the tradewinds and an eventual return to normal conditions.

Photo Credits:
Thomas.G. Andrews
NOAA Paleoclimatology Program

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Last Modified: 12 October 2001

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