El Niño : Observation maps
El Niño and La Niña observations
See how sea surface temperatures changed during past El Niño and La Niña evernts. These maps show temperature anomalies rather than actual temperature. The sea surface temperature (SST) anomaly is the deviation of existing temperatures from typical temperatures for a particular area. Abnormally warm areas are show in warm colors and cold areas in cool colors.
Note the large temperature changes along the equator, west of Central and South America. The 1997-1998 and 1982-1983 events are the largest El Niños of the century.
1997 - 1998 El Niño, followed immeditaely by a La Niña
1987 - mid 1989
1982 - 1983 El Niño