Free Essay On Monitoring The El NIño Southern Oscillation (Enso): Six Variables
The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a weather phenomenon that illustrates the cycle of temperature change in the ocean’s surface. Essentially, the ENSO is a fluctuation of the ocean temperature in the Pacific Ocean, particularly the surface of the water found in the equatorial region. When the water’s temperature is warm, it is in the El Niño phase. On the other hand, when the water’s temperature is cool, it is in the La Niña phase. To determine the phase of oscillation, it is based on the sea surface temperatures (SST). Aside from the SST, however, experts also monitor ENSO using different variables. It is important to monitor the ENSO index to enable experts to predict rate or level and length of drought and precipitation. Overall, monitoring the ENSO index is based on six variables – the sea surface temperature (SST), the surface air temperature (A), sea level pressure (P), the cloudiness of the sky (C), and the zonal (U) and meridional (V) features of the surface wind.
SST refers to the measurement of the temperature of the water or ocean’s surface. Through the SST, experts are able to identify the current phase of oscillation, and therefore, the impact of temperatures on other weather phenomena. If SST measures the temperature of the surface and shallow depths of the ocean, the surface air temperature (A) determines the humidity and temperature of air above the Earth’s surface. The Earth’s surface has an average air temperature. If this changes, then this signals changes in the climate.
Sea Level Pressure (P) is the measurement of the atmospheric pressure. Experts measure the atmospheric pressure at sea level. Fluctuations in P compared to the average sea level pressure affects weather. The cloudiness of the sky (C) refers to the rate or volume of clouds in the sky. The zonal (U) and meridional (V) winds determines the direction of the wind around the Earth. U winds are those that move along the latitude following the direction from west to east. V winds, on the other hand, move along the meridian following the north to south direction. The movement of the wind also affects convergence and divergence of winds that affect weather. All of these factors contribute to the fluctuations in the warm and cool phases in the ENSO.
Kauffman, Chad M. Climate Studies: Introduction to Climate Science. New York, NY: The American Meteorological Society, 2014.