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El Niño phenomenon

Credit: NOAA
(Credit: NOAA)

The El Niño - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) system dominates interannual variability of the ocean and atmosphere in the tropical and subtropical Pacific. The ENSO imprint on climate propagates throughout the global atmosphere, affecting planetary systems as diverse as polar sea ice, fish yields off Peru, maize growth in Africa, and rainfall in Florida. The resulting socio-economic impacts are immediate and strong and ENSO is now regarded as an important environmental phenomena. Isotopic studies of the ENSO phenomena show that during El Niño events ocean temperatures in the tropics and subtropics shift accompanied by variability in evaporation and isotopic fractionation, resulting in changes of 2H, 13C, 14C and 18O isotopic compositions of seawater.

In order to foster collaboration between experts, both from developed and developing countries, the IAEA has launched the Coordinated Research Project (CRP) "Nuclear and isotopic studies of the El Niño phenomenon in the ocean", in which 13 members participate, from 10 member states.



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