The El Niño Watch is a monthly
production of the West Coast Regional Node. It was started in
January, 1992, in response to the onset of El Niño conditions
in the equatorial Pacific. One of the main El Niño
indicators for the U.S. west coast is the presence of warmer than
average surface water.
The advisories include analyses of coastal
ocean average sea-surface-temperature (SST), deviations of SST from
average, coastal upwelling indices, information on ocean currents,
thermocline structure, and the potential impacts on living marine
The El Niño charts are derived from:
The most recent issue is available online,
along with archived issues back to 1992:
Coastal Upwelling Indices: Monthly indices of the intensity of
large-scale, wind-induced coastal upwelling at 15 standard
locations along the west coast of North America, produced by the
Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Environmental Research Division.
Climate Prediction Center El Niño Diagnostic Discussion:
Monthly analyses of the El Niño Southern Oscillation
by NOAA's Climate Prediction Experts.
- AVHRR Global Coverage SST: Sea surface temperatures measured from the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometers carried aboard the NOAA Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Spacecraft. The cloud-cleared SST data are produced in near real time at 6-hour intervals by the Office of Satellite Data Processing and Distribution, NOAA satellites and Information.
- Pathero Climatology: A satellite-based surface temperature climatology developed by Ken Casey (National Oceanographic Data Center, NOAA Satellites and Information) and Peter Cornillon (Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island) based on the AVHRR Pathfinder data set.
- SeaWiFS Ocean Color: Ocean color measurements from the Sea-viewing Wide Field-of-view Sensor on the Orbview-2 spacecraft (Orbimage Incorporated) provide estimates of near-surface ocean chlorophyll, a photosynthetic pigment found in phytoplankton. This in turn provides a rough measure of phytoplankton abundance and distribution.
- QuikSCAT Winds: Ocean surface wind fields measured from the Seawinds scatterometer carried aboard NASA's QuikSCAT spacecraft. Basic wind measurements are used to derive the wind stress curl, a measure of the oceanic convergence or divergence that results from the overall structure of the surface winds.
The SST time series graph below shows the
SST monthly average (NCEP data) minus the COADS 2 1950-97 monthly
mean values for each of three defined West coast regions. The SST
animations run through the El Niño images for various time
SST Time Series