El Niño 2016

NOAA El Niño Rapid Response Field Campaign

January – March 2016

PSD Leads: Randall Dole and Ryan Spackman    Media Relations: Theo.Stein@noaa.gov, 303-497-6288

The major El Niño of 2015-2016 presented an unprecedented scientific opportunity for NOAA to accelerate advances in understanding and predictions of an extreme climate event and its impacts through research conducted while the event was ongoing. ESRL's Physical Sciences Division (PSD) played a central role in the NOAA El Niño Rapid Response (ENRR) field campaign to determine key mechanisms affecting El Niño's impacts on the U.S. and their implications for improving NOAA's observational systems, models and predictions. The ENRR campaign spanned the central and eastern tropical Pacific to California. Multiple types of observing resources collected measurements from the air, ocean, and ground between January and March of 2016. Of particular interest was the increased risk for intense wintertime storms and heavy rainfall affecting the US West Coast during this event's very strong El Niño. READ MORE


Observations in the Field...

NOAA G-IV aircraft at sunset (Credit: Matt Newman, CIRES)
NOAA G-IV aircraft at sunset (Credit: Matt Newman, CIRES)

NOAA G-IV Aircraft

The NOAA G-IV aircraft flew out of Honolulu, Hawaii carrying a suite of meteorological sensors and deploying dropsondes for 22 research flights from mid January to early March 2016.
NOAA Research Ship Ronald H. Brown
NOAA Research Ship Ronald H. Brown

NOAA Research Ship Ronald H. Brown

The NOAA Research Ship Ronald H. Brown launched up to 8-times daily radiosondes on the Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) survey cruise from February 16 to March 18, 2016 (Honolulu to San Diego).
The NASA Global Hawk at Edwards Air Force Base. (Credit: Gijs de Boer, CIRES)
The NASA Global Hawk at Edwards Air Force Base. (Credit: Gijs de Boer, CIRES)

NASA Global Hawk Unmanned Aircraft

The NASA Global Hawk, deployed through the SHOUT project led by NOAA's UAS Program, carried a suite of meteorological sensors and launch dropsondes during three research flights in February.
Kiritimati (Christmas) Island from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)
Kiritimati (Christmas) Island from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Kiritimati Island Observations

On Kiritimati (Christmas) Island, approximately 1,340 miles south of Honolulu, a radiosonde sounding system was set up with twice-a-day vertical soundings made continuously from late January through March 2016.
The X-band radar in San Francisco. (Credit: Francesc Junyent, CSU/CIRA)
The X-band radar in San Francisco. (Credit: Francesc Junyent, CSU/CIRA)

Scanning X-Band Radar in San Francisco

A scanning X-Band radar will be deployed to the south San Francisco Bay as an experimental radar system, which will provide the more accurate rainfall estimates for the region that are needed to better manage and mitigate negative impacts. Starting in late January.

PSD researchers in Boulder, Colorado analyzed conditions and held daily forecast briefings, which were used to plan and coordinate field observations.

Mission Map
mission map
Click image to enlarge