Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

July 20, 1998

La Nina Watch
Credit: TRMM Satellite, NASDA, NASA

Explanation: Goodbye El Niño. Hello La Niña? Scientists are watching to see if an evolving pool of relatively cool water in the mid-Pacific Ocean will develop into a full "La Niña". Over the past several months, the water temperature in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean has been doing a flip-flop. From being slightly warmer than normal in the winter, a condition called El Niño, much of this water is now slightly colder than normal, a condition that might develop into a La Niña - with global weather consequences. Pictured above is a false-color satellite image showing relative temperature in Equatorial Pacific taken earlier this month. The blue color indicates relatively cool water. Since little has changed since last month, it is possible that the situation has stabilized. The last two La Nina years were 1988 and 1995.

Tomorrow's picture: Nearby Spiral M33

< Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/ GSFC
&: Michigan Tech. U.