Images & text from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
El Niño associated with change in sea level
The images show sea surface topography from NASA's TOPEX satellite, sea surface temperature's from NOAA's AVHRR satellite sensor and sea temperature below the surface as measured by NOAA's network of TAO moored buoys. The three dimensional relief map shows a sea level rise along the Equator in the eastern Pacific Ocean of up to 34 centimeters with the red colors indicating an associated change in sea surface temperature of up to 5.4 degrees Celsius. The sea temperature below the surface illustrates how the thermocline (the boundary between warm and cold sea water at 20 degrees Celcius) is flattened out by El Niño.
These images are beneath Sea Views of sea surface height (represented by the bumps) and sea temperature (represented by the color). Red is 30 degrees C and blue is 8 degrees C. The thermocline is the border between the dark blue at the bottom and the cyan. The thermocline exists at 20 degrees C.
Data from 1/1/97 to 3/10/98.