Satellite sea surface temperature departure for October 2015 over the Pacific. Orange-red colors indicate above normal temperatures, indicative of an El Niño condition. The 2015-16 El Niño was the first extreme El Niño of the 21st century and among the three strongest El Niños on record. Credit: NOAA National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS)
The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific Ocean has major worldwide social and economic consequences through its global scale effects on atmospheric and oceanic circulation, marine and terrestrial... more
In the News
A new book highlights research progress on El Niño Southern Oscillation dynamics and impacts and how they may change in a warmer world. McPhaden is a co-editor.
Climate change could trigger an ancient El Niño-like pattern in the Indian Ocean that would create extreme weather such as floods, storms and droughts across the globe.... more
Global warming is approaching a tipping point that during this century could reawaken an ancient climate pattern similar to El Niño in the Indian Ocean, new research led... more
The first decade of the 21st century witnessed a slowdown in the rise of global surface atmospheric temperatures, referred to as the global warming hiatus. During this time, the tropical Pacific Ocean absorbed more heat from the atmosphere than in previous decades, associated with unusually strong trade winds and a cold phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. However, there is no evidence that the tropical Pacific heat content increased during this time. Where did the excess heat go?... more