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Explorations: The El Niño–Southern Oscillation

NOAA’s El Niño Web page is the best place to begin looking for information about the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), which includes El Niño, La Niña, and neutral phases of ENSO. This site has links to the latest ENSO updates and forecasts, educational materials—many illustrated with animated graphics—descriptions of research projects, articles on the effects of ENSO around the world, and links to further sources of information.

Books for General Readers
  • Michael Glantz, Currents of Change: El Niño’s Impact on Climate and Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996) tells the story of how scientific understanding of El Niño grew from the nineteenth century until late in the twentieth century.
  • J. Madeleine Nash, El Niño: Unlocking the Secrets of the Master Weather-Maker (New York: Warner Books, 2002) also tells the story of how scientists came to understand ENSO, including taking readers along as scientists work to learn more by extracting ice cores from glaciers atop a South American mountain or examining coral reefs in the South Pacific.

Nash’s book, like most reporting on El Niño, focuses mostly on the disruption and disasters a strong El Niño brings. Few reports have noted the beneficial aspects of a strong El Niño, which include a reduction in Atlantic Basin hurricanes. A good analysis of the benefits of an El Niño is found in Stanley Changnon, “Impacts of the 1997–98 El Niño–generated Weather in the United States,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 80 (September 1999): 1819–1828.

book jacket
The AMS Weather Book:The Ultimate Guide to America’s Weather
Jack Williams
With Forewords by Rick Anthes and Stephanie Abrams
©2009, 368 pages, 140 color plates, 70 halftones 8-1/2 x 10-7/8
Cloth $35.00 ISBN: 9780226898988

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