TAO Home About the TAO project Data display pages Data access El Niño and La Niña information Site map
TAO Virtual tour

Scope and Relevance

The TAO/TRITON Array, designed for the study of year-to-year climate variations related to El Nino and the Southern Oscillation (ENSO), consists of approximately 70 moored ocean buoys in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The array is supported by a multi-national partnership of institutions, and is a major component of global ocean and global climate observing systems.

Scientists use oceanographic and meteorological data from the TAO/TRITON array for research into the causes of El Nino (ENSO warm events) and La Nina (ENSO cold events). The data also are fed into computer models that can predict the development of El Nino and La Nina up to one year in advance.
El nino or normal conditions
El Nino or normal or La Nina conditions

ENSO events significantly alter global weather patterns, affecting the lives of millions around the world. They also affect Pacific marine ecosystems and commercially valuable fish stocks such as tuna and anchovy.

Northern winter or summer

Instruments and operation

The array consists of NOAA TAO moorings in the eastern and central Pacific, and Japanese TRITON moorings in the western Pacific. TAO/TRITON moorings measure surface meteorological parameters, upper ocean temperatures and, at some locations, ocean currents. NOAA's new research ship, the KA'IMIMOANA, is dedicated to servicing TAO moorings, with an annual operating schedule of 250 days at sea. Significant shiptime is contributed by Japan to maintain TRITON moorings in the western Pacific.

An overview of the TAO system.
An overview of the TAO project, showing the operational component and real-time data dissemination.

Data display and access

TAO/TRITON data can be downloaded from the web or via anonymous FTP. Graphical dislays and animations of the data are provided in a variety of formats to illustrate the ever-changing environmental conditions in the tropical Pacific

More info
TAO moorings
NOAA ship Ka'imimoana
TRITON buoys
ENSO impacts
3-D Visualizations and animations
TAO data in 3D - Virtual reality demonstration


Data access screens
Last month's data
Animated version

Home | Project overview | Data display | Data delivery | El Niño & La Niña | Site map

TAO Project Office
| Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory
7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Credits | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy