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Module E - The Ocean and World Climate.docx

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BIOL 111
Catherine Ortner

MODULE E The OceanWorld Climatepg 215222 469495Lesson 10El NioLa NiaHow is an El Nio event generatedEl Nio is a warmwater current that flows through Peru around Christmas accompanied by an eastwest atmospheric pressure seesaw the high pressure along the coast of South America weakens reducing the difference between the high and low pressure regions of the Walker Circulation Cell this in turn causes the southeast trade winds to diminish and sometimes to even turn in the opposite directions without the trade winds the Pacific Warm Pool that has built up on the western side of the Pacific begins to flow back across the ocean toward South America aided by an increase in the flow of the equatorial countercurrent the Pacific Warm Pool creates a band of warm water that stretches across the equatorial Pacific OceanHow is a La Nia event generated La Nia conditions are similar to normal conditions but more intensified because there is a larger pressure difference across the Pacific Ocean this larger pressure difference creates stronger Walker Circulation and stronger trade winds which in turn cause more upwelling a shallower thermocline in the eastern Pacific and a band of cooler than normal water that stretches across the equatorial South PacificDescribe the Walker Circulation What changes are observed in the Walker Circulation during an El Nio while high pressure and sinking air dominate the coastal region of South America a lowpressure region and rising air exists on the other side of the Pacific this pressure difference causes the strong southeast trade winds to blow across the equatorial South Pacific the resulting atmospheric circulation cell in the equatorial South Pacific Ocean is named the Walker Circulation Cell during El Nio high pressure along the coast of South America weakens thus throwing off the balance of pressure that exists in the Walker Circulation CellHow is the Southern Oscillation coupled with an El Nio event and a La Nia event the warm water current of El Nio combined with the eastwest atmospheric pressure seesaw of the Southern Oscillation form a combined atmospheric and oceanic effect which periodically alternates between warm and cold phases and cause dramatic environmental changesWhat oceanic physical properties sea surface and subsurface are affected by an El Nio What changes occur during El Nio sea surface temperatures across the equatorial Pacific increase once this warm water meets South America it moves north and south along the west coast of
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