In normal years, on the west coast of all continents, there is an upwelling of nutrient rech colder waters from below, along the sea floor, towards the surface. These nutrients attract phytoplankton, which in turn attract fish. In El Nino years, the warmer surface waters suppress this natural upwelling which brings nutrients to the surface. Without nutrients, the food chain is severely disrupted. There is no phytoplankton and no fish. Fisherman return home with empty nets. Satellite observations now show us the effects of El Nino are global. It is now known El nino measurements can help accurately predict the Monsoon patterns for the following year.
Data obtained from: Dr. James J. O'Brien, Professor of Meterology and Oceanography Center for Ocean-Atmospheric Prediction Studies/FSU. NOAA/NMC.
The monthly optimum interpolation (OI) fields were derived by linear interpolation is produced weekly on a one-degree grid. From 1990 to present, the in situ data were obtained from radio messages carried on the Global Telecommunication System. The satellite observations were obtained from operational data produced by the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS). During the period of 1981-1989, the in situ data were obtained from the Comprehensive Ocean Atmosphere Data Set (COADS). The satellite data were obtained from analyses of NESDIS data produced at the University of Miami's Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.