National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

El Nino Intensity Increasing in the Central Equatorial Pacific

August 25, 2010

In an article recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, Tong Lee of the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasedena and Mike McPhaden of PMEL analyzed 30 years of NOAA satellite sea surface temperature data and found that the intensity of El Niño events in the central equatorial Pacific has almost doubled in the past three decades, with the strongest warming in 2009-10. 

These “central Pacific” (CP) El Niño’s exhibit maximum warming in the central equatorial Pacific in contrast to the classical El Niños, which have maximum warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific.