National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
United States Department of Commerce

[Full Text]

FY 1999

Genesis and evolution of the 1997–98 El Niño

McPhaden, M.J.

Science, 283, 950–954, doi: 10.1126/science.283.5404.950 (1999)

The 1997-98 El Niño-Southern Oscillation was, by some measures, the strongest on record, with major climatic impacts felt around the world. A newly completed tropical Pacific atmosphere-ocean observing system documented this El Niño from its rapid onset to its sudden demise in greater detail than was ever before possible. The unprecedented measurements challenge existing theories for El Niño-related climate swings and suggest why climate forecast models underpredicted the strength of the El Niño prior to its onset.

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