In the Rings
Scientists are able to detect an El Niño event and its effects on the climate through a variety of technological and natural sciences. One of these natural sciences is dendrochronology, or the study of tree rings. Dendrochronologists study the rings of a tree in order to understand climatic conditions during specific time periods. Thin rings often indicate drier seasons while fatter rings indicate rainy seasons. Depending on where the tree is, scientists can see past El Niño events in trees that exhibit signs of much rainier or drier seasons that normal.
the art and science of cultivating the land for growing crops (farming) or raising livestock (ranching).
alterations in the layer of air surrounding the Earth, such as an increase of pollution or humidity.
large-scale movement of air that helps distribute thermal energy (heat) on the surface of the Earth.
force per unit area exerted by the mass of the atmosphere as gravity pulls it to Earth.
floating object anchored to the bottom of a body of water. Buoys are often equipped with signals.
all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.
person who studies long-term patterns in weather.
edge of land along the sea or other large body of water.
transfer of heat by the movement of the heated parts of a liquid or gas.
steady, predictable flow of fluid within a larger body of that fluid.
(singular: datum) information collected during a scientific study.
harmful condition of a body part or organ.
period of greatly reduced precipitation.
community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.
irregular, recurring weather system that features a warm, eastern-flowing ocean current in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
climate pattern in which coastal waters become warmer in the eastern tropical Pacific (El Nio), and atmospheric pressure decreases at the ocean surface in the western tropical Pacific (Southern Oscillation).
imaginary line around the Earth, another planet, or star running east-west, 0 degrees latitude.
act in which earth is worn away, often by water, wind, or ice.
upper zone of the ocean. This zone goes down to approximately 600 feet. Also called the epipelagic or sunlit zone.
industry or occupation of harvesting fish, either in the wild or through aquaculture.
overflow of a body of water onto land.
to predict, especially the weather.
amount of water vapor in the air.
tropical storm with wind speeds of at least 119 kilometers (74 miles) per hour. Hurricanes are the same thing as typhoons, but usually located in the Atlantic Ocean region.
time period between events or activities.
watering land, usually for agriculture, by artificial means.
weather system that includes cool ocean temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean.
distance north or south of the Equator, measured in degrees.
an animal that lives most of its life in the ocean but breathes air and gives birth to live young, such as whales and seals.
person who studies patterns and changes in Earth's atmosphere.
area of the United States consisting of the following states: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
to move from one place or activity to another.
to observe and record behavior or data.
seasonal change in the direction of the prevailing winds of a region. Monsoon usually refers to the winds of the Indian Ocean and South Asia, which often bring heavy rains.
U.S. Department of Commerce agency whose mission is to "understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts; to share that knowledge and information with others, and; to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources."
event in the physical environment that is destructive to human activity.
type of salt used as fertilizer. Excess nitrates can choke freshwater ecosystems.
substance an organism needs for energy, growth, and life.
set of data used by scientists to measure the differences in normal sea surface temperatures.
an unusual act or occurrence.
type of salt used as fertilizer. Excess phosphates can choke freshwater ecosystems.
process by which plants turn water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide into water, oxygen, and simple sugars.
microscopic organism that lives in the ocean and can convert light energy to chemical energy through photosynthesis.
all forms in which water falls to Earth from the atmosphere.
animal that hunts other animals for food.
regular or able to be forecasted.
first or most important.
time of year when most of the rain in a region falls.
natural or man-made lake.
photographs of a planet taken by or from a satellite.
at the same time.
decrease in the air pressure over the tropical eastern and western Pacific Ocean, linked to El Nino.
widely spaced, large-scale, long-lasting climate anomalies or patterns that are related to each other and can affect much of the globe.
degree of hotness or coldness measured by a thermometer with a numerical scale.
heat, measured in joules or calories.
level or layer of a fluid depth where temperature changes more rapidly than the fluid either above or below it.
rise and fall of the ocean's waters, caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun.
a violently rotating column of air that forms at the bottom of a cloud and touches the ground.
winds that blow toward the Equator, from northeast to southwest in the Northern Hemisphere and from southeast to northwest in the Southern Hemisphere.
to pass along information or communicate.
movement of people or goods from one place to another.
existing in the tropics, the latitudes between the Tropic of Cancer in the north and the Tropic of Capricorn in the south.
tropical storm with wind speeds of at least 74 miles (119 kilometers) per hour. Typhoons are the same thing as hurricanes, but usually located in the Pacific or Indian Ocean region.
process in which cold, nutrient-rich water from the bottom of an ocean basin or lake is brought to the surface due to atmospheric effects such as the Coriolis force or wind.
to make visual.
state of the atmosphere, including temperature, atmospheric pressure, wind, humidity, precipitation, and cloudiness.