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Tracking El Niño and its Effects on Life in the Ocean


An interview with NOAA Fisheries’ two top scientists on the West Coast.

By Rich Press, NOAA Fisheries Science Writer | Posted: March 30, 2016
Follow Rich on Twitter: @Rich_NOAAFish



Satellite sea surface temperature during January, 2016. Colors show where average monthly sea surface temperature was above (red) or below (blue) its 1981-2010 average. Waters across the tropical Pacific Ocean were warmer than average during this month, suggesting that El Nino still had a grip on the basin. Photo: climate.gov/NNVL. Data: Geo-Polar SST.

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Photo of Cisco Werner, Science and Research Director of NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center. View slideshow Cisco Werner, Science and Research Director of NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California. el_nino_02.jpg el_nino_03.jpg el_nino_04.jpg

We’ve had a very powerful El Niño this year. That, of course, is the phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean that causes rains and coastal flooding on parts of the West Coast, extreme weather on the East Coast, and crazy weather in many parts of the world.

But El Niño isn’t just about weather on land. It also has profound effects on life in the ocean, and that, of course, is where NOAA Fisheries comes in.

In this podcast, the agency’s two top scientists on the West Coast discuss those effects. Cisco Werner is the Director of NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla, California and John Stein is the Director of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle. We’ve gotten very good at predicting when an El Niño will happen and what its effects will be, they say. But as the climate changes, cyclical events like El Niño are rising off a shifting baseline. That will keep our scientists on their toes.

Learn More

More about John Stein

More about Cisco Werner

More podcasts with NOAA Fisheries Scientists:

On the Front Lines of Climate Change in the Ocean

Harmful Algal Blooms: A Sign of Things to Come?

More on El Niño

NOAA El Niño Portal

The Newportal Blog

Transcript: Tracking El Niño and its Effects on Life in the Ocean

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