2-10: Climate Variability (El Niño, La Niña)

Importance of this Unit to the Course

Ocean surface temperatures have a significant and slowly varying influence on the atmosphere and hence climate. By knowing more about how, when, and why ocean temperatures go through major changes we can better understand climates of the past and perhaps even gain insight about forecasting some aspects of future climate a season or perhaps even a year in advance.


Preparation for Discussion (You must complete this section before class.)

  1. Read the summary information. (Print text for offline review; images only.)
  2. Take the Quiz
  3. Review additional reading material (this material is not covered in the quiz, but offers more ideas for online discussion)
    • None

Discussion (online / face-to-face) (See your portfolio for due dates and times)

A major component of the course is participation in the online dialog. The following types of comments are required:

The following may be used as discussion starters for the online dialog:
  • Unit Problem to Ponder:
    If you were the very first person to know that there would be a record-breaking El Niño beginning in exactly 12 months, what stock market investment decisions would you make today?
  • Unit exam questions from previous years
  • Unit discussions from previous years, available from the current online discussion

Additional Reading