Timeline of an El Niño event
Earth Space Research Group, 1982-83 El Niño Chronology
Provided by: Earth Space Research Group
- May 1982
- Slight rise in sea surface temperature off coast of Peru
(less than 1/2 °C.) detected by drifting buoys and satellites.
- June 1982
- Sudden atmospheric pressure increase in Darwin, Australia.
- Dramatic atmospheric pressure decrease in Tahiti.
- Westward trade winds reverse direction along equatorial
- Sea level rises over the central Pacific as the warm water pool
(Kelvin Wave) starts moving eastward along the equator.
- Deep fog blankets the central Pacific.
- Dry spell begins in Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea.
- July 1982
- Sea levels at Fanning and Christmas Islands are up almost 25 cm.
- Precipitation amounts in Tarawa are four times the normal for July.
- August 1982
- Atmospheric pressure recorded in Darwin is highest in 100 years.
- Atmospheric pressure recorded in Tahiti is lowest in 50 years.
- Normally westward-flowing ocean current reverses.
- Five hurricanes form in the eastern Pacific.
- Rain begins in Christmas Islands during the traditional dry season.
- Extremely heavy rains are reported from Kiribati to the Line Islands.
- September 1982
In the eastern Pacific, a research ship observes:
- Sea surface temperatures 5 °C. higher than normal.
- Upper ocean warm water layer four times thicker than normal.
- The normal easterly cold under-current flows cease.
- The usual abundance of marine wildlife disappears.
- October 1982
- Kelvin Wave reaches the South American coast, sea surface
- Record rain and flooding strike Ecuador and northern Peru.
- Drought continues in Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea.
- November 1982
- More than thirteen times the normal rainfall is recorded in
- Fanning and Washington Islands suffer extensive erosion due to
- A rare hurricane causes damage in Hawaii.
- French Polynesia is devastated by the first of six major tropical
- Seventeen-million birds populating Christmas Islands disappear
leaving nestlings for lack of food.
- December 1982
- Remarkably deep warm water found near Panama-- as deep as 3,300 feet.
- Drought conditions spread from the Philippines to Hawaii.
- The tropical jet stream shifts north to California and the northern
- January - February 1983
- Indicators start to show a decline in the magnitude of the event;
water temperature drops 5° C.
- Drifting buoys shift direction and start moving west-- back to
- Atmospheric pressure readings return to their normal level in
- El Niño appears to be waning.
- March 1983
- Sea temperature surged upward again-- inexplicably.
- Along the Peru and Ecuador coasts, water suddenly warms by 7° C.
- Buoys that started moving westward changed direction again.
- April-May 1983
- All readings of temperature and pressure surpass the previous
- June 1983
- Deserts of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia receive 3.7 m of rain,
instead of the usual 12.7 cm.
- Agricultural lands of northern Bolivia have received no rain for
- Ninety-percent of the potato crops in northern Bolivia perish
- Forty-thousand adobe homes melt down, and urban sewer systems burst
- The Galapagos Islands receive more rain in six weeks than in six
- The Pacific part of Australia endures the driest summer in two
centuries, resulting in high brush fires, crop and livestock losses.
- Nineteen African countries endure severe droughts.
- California and the Rocky Mountains suffer $1.1 billion damage from
rains and floods.
- November 1983
- Sea surface temperatures off the coast of Peru return to normal.
- July 1984
- Water temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska return to normal.