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No. 27: May-Jun 1983

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The Current Anomalous El Nino

Bad spring weather? It's the El Nino. El Nino is the name given the annual movement of warm water southward along the western coast of South America. Every few years (range 2-10 years, average about 3 years) this current penetrates much farther south, devastating the fishing industry. Usually the catastrophic El Ninos begin in the eastern Pacific and work westward. The current El Nino is out of phase somehow, beginning in the western Pacific and moving east. (The current extreme drought in Australia is part of this phenomenon.) The more powerful El Ninos are usually associated with severe winters in North America; the opposite is true this time. Obviously, something is amiss with the current El Nino.

(Philander, S.G.H.; "El Nino Southern Oscillation Phenomena," Nature, 302:295, 1983.)

Reference. Anomalous El Ninos are cataloged at GHT4 in Earthquakes, Tides. This book is described here.

From Science Frontiers #27, MAY-JUN 1983. 1983-2000 William R. Corliss