Engage: is the weather the same from year to year?
Step 1: Open the ArcGIS Online map, El Nino, and explore the map.
Step 2: Observe the map with the data layer, Snow Cover: January 2016.
- What parts of the world experienced snow cover?
- Is there always the same amount of snow at your location? At various locations around the world?
Explore: How are sea surface temperatures different around the globe?
Step 3: The year range 2015-2016 was considered a moderate El Nino event. From the Details pane, click the button, Show Contents of Map.
Step 4: Click the checkbox to the left of the layer name, Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly: January 2016.
- What patterns in SST anomaly are in the Pacific Ocean?
- What are some possible factors that may influence ocean temperatures throughout a given year?
Explain: what is some possible feedback of warmer sea surface temperatures?
Step 5: Click the checkbox to the left of the layer name, Global Temperature Anomaly: January 2016. January 2016 was considered the peak heating of the Pacific Ocean.
- What patterns in global temperature anomalies do you notice in the United States?
- Do the sea surface temperature patterns that you previously observed correspond to the observed land surface temperature anomaly layer currently visible? Explain your reasoning.
Elaborate: how would warmer ocean temperatures affect precipitation?
Step 6: Click the checkbox to the left of the layer name, Water Equivalent Anomaly: September 2009.
- What generalizations can be made about precipitation in California during an El Nino event?
Evaluate: is there an opposite event to el Nino?
La Nina is the opposite event to El Nino, generally observed as unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.
- From your observations of the 2015-2016 El Nino event, what sea surface temperature conditions may be present during a La Nina event?
Step 7: Click the checkbox to the left of the layer name, Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly: January 2008.
Step 8: Analyze your observations.