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Chasing El Niño

Viewing Ideas


Before Watching

  1. El Niño is a term originally used to describe the warm surface current that usually appears every three to seven years in the Pacific Ocean along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador. On a world map, have students locate the Pacific Ocean, Peru and Ecuador.

  2. A change in ocean temperatures and atmospheric conditions produces El Niño, which affects weather worldwide. Discuss with students the relationship between weather (atmospheric conditions at a given time and place) and climate (average weather conditions for an area over an extended period of time). Have students explain what they think is meant by the adage, "Climate is what you expect. Weather is what you get."

  3. As they watch, have students record various ways weather is affected during El Niño years and how these changes in weather impact specific regions.

After Watching

  1. Have students review their notes and discuss some of the positive and negative effects of El Niño on world weather. In response to the '82-'83 El Niño, scientists have been collecting data, comparing this data to world weather events, and building computer models to help predict future El Niños. Discuss how people might use this information.

Teacher's Guide
Chasing El Niño
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