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Operational El Niño / Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Observing System


Facts about ENSO:

ENSO Effects on the US:

    El Niño:

  • Warmer winters across the northern US
  • Gulf states cooler and wetter
  • California can be wetter or drier
  • Pacific salmon and other fisheries disrupted
  • Fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic
  • La Niña:

  • La Niña has equally dramatic, often opposite effects on the US

ENSO is Predictable:

  • Computer models show skill in forecasting tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures one to two years in advance
  • ENSO forecasts improve the accuracy of seasonal and longer forecasts over the US
  • Potential for billions of dollars in benefits to the US economy in:
    • Agriculture
    • Energy generation
    • Water resources
    • Forestry
    • Fisheries
    • Transportation
    • Commerce
    • Public health

What is needed?

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To obtain a hard copy of this page just copy this postscript file and direct it to your color postscript printer. If for some reason this doesn't work, you can also ftp the postscript file interactively by following these instructions. See these links for Further Reading and Additional information

Michael J. McPhaden,, 20 March 1997

Department of Commerce / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory / Tropical Atmosphere Ocean Project
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