El Niño is a natural phenomenon that happens when tepid waters form in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. The pool of abnormally warm water is approximately two to three degrees Celsius warmer than average. It happens every two to seven years and leads to a temporary climate change episode. Apart from affecting the water settings in the eastern Pacific Ocean, El Niño also creates dangerous weather changes across the globe. For instance, it can cause droughts or long periods of unusually low rainfall in Australia and flooding in the sunshine state of California.
This year the scientists have decided to observe El Niño 2015-16 from space. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) stated that the El Niño 1997-98 event is, by far, the worst ever recorded. According to the WMO, the El Niño 2015-16 appears to be at par with the El Niño 1997-98 statistics.
With today's space technology, scientists are better equipped in analyzing El Niño than in all previous years combined. NASA Earth-observing satellites will be used along with modeling system supercomputers. The NASA satellites will look into sea surface height and temperature, surface currents, atmospheric winds and ocean hue. The Jason-2 satellite focuses on the measurement of sea surface height.
El Niño is also believed to affect the ground-level ozone and how it affects human health. Analyzing the El Niño movements using NASA satellites enables researchers to see how widespread the effect could be. For instance, the warmer the waters in the eastern tropical waters of the Pacific Ocean, the wider the El Niño effects will be. El Niño has the power to change weather pattern, storm tracks and cloud cover.
Source: Tech Times