El Niño Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Compiled and Edited by MICHAEL H. GLANTZ and GREGORY E. PIERCE

Consortium for Capacity Building (CCB)

November 2020

This extensive list will help to guide by answering many questions that might arise when researching an El Niño event in order to help clear up misconceptions about common questions related to an El Niño or La Niña event. The partial Table of Contents below list some of the topics in the manuscript and the full version can be viewed or downloaded below.

Misconceptions abound about El Niño, La Niña and the Neutral phase of ENSO. Across the globe, people are asking the same questions about “What is El Niño?” “How often does it happen?” and “What are some of the impacts in my area?” First assembled in 2020, this volume expands on and answers many of the questions we found across the internet on platforms involved with as Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), climate change, adapting to a changing climate and many others. 

[pdf-embedder url=”https://www.ccb-boulder.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/E2El-Nino-FAQs-with-Images.pdf” title=”(E2)El Nino FAQs with Images”]

Download entire book here

Table of Contents (Partial)

I. HISTORY AND EXPOSURE

  1. ENSO

II. WHAT IS EL NINO?

III. El NINO

  1. How did El Niño receive its name?
  2. Technically speaking, what is an El Niño?
  3. How do we recognize an El Niño Event? / What are typical El Niño characteristics?
  4. How do we detect an El Niño?
  5. What indices are used to see if an El Niño or La Niña is occurring?
  6. Is there a scale for the intensity of El Niño?
  7. Are all El Niños the same? / Are big El Niños different from average El Niños?

IV. LA NIÑA

  1. What is La Niña?
  2. What are typical La Niña characteristics?

V. SOUTHERN OSCILLATION / SOUTHERN OSCILLATION INDEX

  1. What are the Southern Oscillation and Southern Oscillation Index (SOI)?

VI. DISTIGUISHING TERMS

VII. El NIÑO/LA NIÑA SYSTEMS

VIII. IS EL NIÑO THEORY OR FACT?

IX. ENSO-NEUTRAL

X. TELECONNECTIONS

XI. WHERE

XII. WHEN

XIII. CAUSES

XIV. PURPOSE

XV. EFFECTS

  1. Global Impacts (General and Specific)
  2. General U.S. Impacts of El Niño
  3. Hurricanes and El Niño
  4. Tornadoes in the U.S. and El Niño?
  5. El Niño and The Oceans
  6. Sea Fauna and El Niño?
  7. The inland water cycle and El Niño?
  8. Economic Impacts of El Niño
  9. CO2 Levels and El Niño
  10. 1997-1998 El Niño

XVI. CLIMATE & WEATHER

  1. Effects

XVII. PREDICTION AND MONITORING

  1. Do you have some words of caution on El Niño forecasts?
  2. general Forecasting
  3. Technical Forecasting
  4. Sea Surface Temperature Monitoring

XVIII. Solutions

XIX. TIDBITS 

 

Image Source: WMO, NOAA, HRC, USAID