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El Niño-southern oscillation

UN/ISDR - UN Office for DRR [ 15 January 2009 ]

Definition:

A complex interaction of the tropical Pacific Ocean and the global atmosphere that results in irregularly occurring episodes of changed ocean and weather patterns in many parts of the world, often with significant impacts over many months, such as altered marine habitats, rainfall changes, floods, droughts, and changes in storm patterns.

Comment: The El Niño part of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon refers to the well-above-average ocean temperatures that occur along the coasts of Ecuador, Peru and northern Chile and across the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, while La Niña part refers to the opposite circumstances when well-below-average ocean temperatures occur. The Southern Oscillation refers to the accompanying changes in the global air pressure patterns that are associated with the changed weather patterns experienced in different parts of the world.


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UNISDR terminology on DRR

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