This winter, weather patterns may be fairly different than what’s typical — all because of unusually warm ocean water in the east equatorial Pacific, an event known as El Niño. Because of El Niño, California is expected to get more rain, while Australia is expected to get less. Since this El Niño began last summer, the Pacific Ocean has already experienced an increase in tropical storms and a decrease in phytoplankton.

El Niño is an irregularly occurring weather phenomenon created through an abnormality in wind and ocean circulation. While it originates in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, El Niño has wide-reaching effects. In a global context, it affects rainfall, ocean productivity, atmospheric gases and winds across continents. At a local level, it influences water supplies, fishing industries and food sources.

With its scientific expertise and more than a dozen Earth-observing satellites, NASA is a leader in observing the local and global effects of El Niño. NASA data help scientists learn more about the mechanics of El Niño events, the interconnectedness of Earth’s climate and weather systems and how our daily lives are affected by these periodic climate events.

See more at the source: NASA Global Climate Change

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