Introduction

 

 

In early spring of 1997, scientists were already seeing signs of what has become one of the most talked about environmental phenomenon ever. El Nino, or ENSO as it is referred to among the scientific community, has for centuries wreaked havoc on typical weather patterns worldwide. In 1997, earlier then ever before, clear changes in water temperature along the equator led scientists to predict the coming of an El Nino of never before seen proportions. With so many questions still remaining unanswered regarding this incredible phenomenon, the El Nino of 97-98 presents a wealth of scientific knowledge that could lead to a much greater understanding of how and why El Nino affects the environment in the manner that it does. And since El Nino affects the inhabitants of the environment as well, a better understanding of it will also serve the purpose of all who exist within our environment. Perhaps the greatest source of El Nino's strength results from the change in water temperature that occurs along the equator, and it is this change in water temperature that became the primary area of analysis for this experiment. The purpose of this analysis is to record the change in water temperature that results from El Nino 97-98, using the NOAA/PMEL TAO Buoy Array at specific locations along the equator, both off the coast of South America and off the coast of Asia. This information will then be compared to similar information from 1996-1997, a normal non- El Nino year. The percent change in temperature will then be calculated from 96-97 to 97-98, and the final result will be conclusive information regarding which area of the Pacific Ocean receives the most drastic environmental change in water temperature as a result of El Nino, and therefore, which area will receive greater environmental change due to this change in temperature.