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Education: Student Outcomes

Filtered by outcome, asset type: 9-12q3, article
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Outcome: Explain the influence of the El Niño Southern Oscillation on global weather patterns.
Grade level: 9-12
Theme: ocean circulation

NASA-sponsored scientists have discovered that by knowing the salt content of the ocean's surface, they may be able to improve the ability to predict El Niño events. Scientists, studying the western Pacific Ocean, find regional changes in the saltiness of surface ocean water correspond to changes in upper ocean heat content in the months preceding an El Niño event. Knowing the distribution of surface salinity may help predict these events.

This study, conducted for NASA by University of Maryland researchers Joaquim Ballabrera, Tony Busalacchi, and Ragu Murtugudde, is one of the first to look at ocean salinity in El Niño, Southern Oscillation (ENSO) predictions and their relationship to tropical sea surface temperatures, sea level, winds, and fresh water from rain.