El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

Comparison of Different El Niño and La Niña Events

While El Niño and La Niña are often associated with consistent climate anomalies throughout the globe, differences in the tropical SST pattern, basic atmospheric state over the globe and "random" climate variability mean that the climate anomalies may not be the same from event to event. These plots give an indication of how similar and how different the atmosphere can be during events.
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Go to preplotted comparisons of: Compare different variables for El Niño and La Niña events using the: Examine average winter and summer ENSO associated climates
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Monthly Anomaly Plots during El Niño (E) and La Niña (L)

Based on NCEP/NCAR Reanalysis Dataset Variable

Variable

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

Current Plot

SLP E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L X
200mb Geopotential Height E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L
200mb Zonal wind E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L
850mb Zonal wind E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L
850mb Meridional wind E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L
Surface Temperature E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L X
Precipitation Rate E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L X
New! SST E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L E  L X

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Animations of Past El Niño and La Niña Events Using Weekly Sea Surface Temperature Data

El Niño

La Niña

1982–83 SST   (JAN82 – JUL83) 1983–84 SST   (JAN83 – JUL84)
1991–92 SST   (JAN91 – JUL92) 1988–89 SST   (JAN88 – JUL89)
1994–95 SST   (JAN94 – JUL95) 1995–96 SST   (JAN95 – JUL96)
1997–98 SST   (JAN97 – Present) 1998–99 SST   (JAN98 )
 
Comparison of 4 El Niño events     (JAN – Present)

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Tropical Pacific Time-Longitude Crossections of Past El Niño and La Niña Events
Using Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) Data

OLR is a measure of cloudtop temperature. Where the temperature is low, the cloudtop is high indicating the presence of "convection" (precipitation) in the region.
Data are averaged over 10N to 10S.

El Niño

OLR Total Field 1982-83, 1986-87, 1991-92 and 1997-98
enso.different.html OLR Anomalies 1982-83, 1986-87, 1991-92 and 1997-98

La Niña

OLR Total Field 1975-76, 1984-85, 1988-89 and 1998-99
  OLR Anomalies 1975-76, 1984-85, 1988-89 and 1998-99

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Comparison of US Temperature and Precipitation for Different Events

Temperature during El Niño. [ps(18M)]
Precipitation during El Niño [ps (18M)]
Temperature during La Niña. [ps (18M)]
Precipitation during La Niña [ps (18M)]
For a more complete look at temperature and precipitation in the US,
see the Climate Prediction Center's La Niña and El Niño impact pages.

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ENSO Index: Comparison of the 1997-98 El Niño with Other Events

MEI Time Series Illustration MEI Time Series Illustration