NOAA Image of the Day
Ocean Temperature Departure, June 13 - 19, 2016
For the past few months, scientists have observed a tremendous dissolution of one of the strongest El Niño events on record. Sea surface temperatures in regions of the east-central Pacific Ocean have cooled down by over three degrees Fahrenheit since January 2016. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, the El Niño event has officially dissipated, with conditions returning to a neutral state throughout most of the region. While conditions are returning to normal, scientists note that many models favor La Niña development during the 2016 summer in the Northern Hemisphere, with about a 75 percent chance of a La Niña during the fall and winter 2016-2017.
Sea surface temperature departure data sets are especially useful for identifying the onset of the El Niño and La Niña cycles. During El Niño, equatorial Pacific temperatures are warmer than normal. During La Niña, the same area experiences colder than normal ocean temperatures. These cycles are caused by multi-year shifts in pressure and wind speeds, affecting ocean circulation, global weather patterns and even oceanic ecosystems.
By subtracting the actual (or current) sea surface temperature values from a long-term average (1981-2010), we can see where those warmer or cooler areas occur. This map shows the cooler than normal areas in shades of blue and warmer than normal areas in shades of red for the week of June 13-19, 2016, using measurements from NOAA's satellites.
Ocean Temperature Departure weekly time series can be found in NOAA View.
Courtesy of NOAA Environmental Visualization Laboratory