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El Niņo: ATSR monthly average Sea Surface Temperature over the world
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El Niņo: ATSR monthly average Sea Surface Temperature over the world



Keywords: ATSR, ESA/ESRIN, SST, El Niņo.
  • El Niņo effect
  • Image description
  • Animation SST ATSR-1
  • Other sites


  • July 1997 degree C.
    Average SST July 1997


    July 1995 degree C.
    Average SST July 1995


    SST difference between July 1995 and July 1997 degree C.
    SST difference between July 1995 and July 1997

    El Niņo Effect

    ATSR monthly average Sea Surface Temperature at the spatial resolution of 30 arcminutes

    The Pacific ocean is usually warmer and higher on the Western side than along the South American coast, due to the  Trade Winds blowing constantly from East to West. These winds transport  the warm surface water from East to West, where it is piled up. In the East, the warm surface water is replaced by cold, nutricious water coming from deeper layers: this vertical movement is called upwelling.
    During an El Niņo event the Trade Winds relax, become very weak, and may even reverse. This causes the warm surface water to flow back eastwards, and stops the upwelling on the eastern side. This means that along the South American coast the sea surface temperature will rise, and it will drop on the Asian and Indonesian coasts.

    El Niņo is very strong this year. The image difference between July 1995 and July 1997 highlights the El Niņo phenomena. In July 95 the water along the South American Coast is much colder than the July 97 water (in blue in the image).

    Some studies show the interconnection between El Niņo and anormal climatic events all over the world.
    The 1997 El Niņo event may be responsible for drought and associated fires in Indonesia and for the Pauline cyclone in Mexico.


    Image description

    The monthly composite images have been made using the ATSR spatially averaged Sea Surface Temperature product. One single product consists of about one ATSR orbit. About 340 orbits were used to produced a monthly composite. The spatial resolution is 30 arcminutes, the temperature precision is better than 0.3 Celsius. The data have been processed at RAL
    July 1997 image is derived from ATSR-2 data, July 1995 is derived from ATSR-1 data. The difference image is just SST (July 1995) minus SST(July 1997). The temperature scale is given in degree Celsius.

    Animation SST ATSR-1 from August 1991 to July 1995

    Monthly SST animation from August 1991 to July 1995 ATSR-1 (5.2 Mbyte). Data Processed at RAL.
  • Click here to view the image (5.2 Mbyte)

  • Others Sites Related to El Niņo

    Study presented at ERS Symposium (Florence, 1997):

  • Use of ATSR data and in situ observations to study ocean
  • Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry