Video of Sea Surface Temperatures
comparing 1997 and 2015

Animation, no narration or text

Further details: ENSO Wrap-up, Download video

Video animation content

The animation shows the development of the 2015 El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean (globe on the right) in comparison with the very strong El Niño in 1997 (globe on the left). It also shows the concurrent development in the Indian Ocean in the second half of the animation.

In both 1997 and 2015, a warm "tongue" of sea surface temperature anomalies can be seen to develop from the coast of South America in the tropical Pacific Ocean around April, spreading quickly westward. In 1997, the northeast Pacific is warmer than average off the coast of North America, and so is the southeast Pacific off the coast of South America. In 2015, the northeastern Pacific is noticeably warmer compared to 1997, and the southeast Pacific is close to average.

In the Indian Ocean during 1997, pulses of warm and cool anomalies occur across the time period, while in 2015, the Indian Ocean is persistently warmer than average. Sea surface temperature anomalies are more notably cooler than average in 1997 to the northwest of Australia.