NOAA / PMEL / TAO Project Office / El Niño Theme Page

How are La Niña, El Niño and Normal Conditions seen
in Pacific Ocean Surface Temperatures?

Sea surface temperatures during La Nina, normal and El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean



La Niña is characterized by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific.
El Niño is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatues in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean.

These are graphics of Sea Surface Temperature (SST) for major El Niño / La Niña events in the mid-1990's, shown for the entire Pacific Ocean (70N to 70S) . El Niño / La Niña are also seen in plots of the Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (temperature deviations from the usual value for the month).

Also see sea surface temperature from the TAO buoys near the equator in the tropical Pacific Ocean (20N to 20S, 100E to 60W).

Data from the Reynolds SST Analysis obtained from the National Center for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)

Graphics are provided by the TAO project and created by Dai McClurg.

You can also see animations of the Reynolds SST and TAO buoy SST from the TAO realtime data page.

See What is La Nina?
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