TOPEX Outreach

Activity 2. Track the El Niño

Color the TOPEX/POSEIDON images that show the rise and fall of the 1997 - 1998 El Niño so that areas of similar height are the same from one month to the next. These maps show the sea-surface height anomaly which is the difference between the height during that particular 10-day period and the average height for that time of year. High areas correspond to warm water, low areas correspond to cold water . Use a color scheme that gives you a map that is easy to interpret.

Learn More About the Niño

There is a lot that you can discover about the El Niño by looking at your map.

  1. Which way did the warm water travel?

  2. The El Niño was at a maximum in November. How can we know that?

  3. How long did it take for the El Niño to reach a maximum?

  4. How long did it take for the El Niño to disappear?

  5. Look at a map of the United States, how far north were coastal waters affected by the El Niño?

  6. How big was the area of warm water compared to your state or country?


Backside panel 7 from the poster "Rise and Fall of the '97-'98 El Niño As Tracked By TOPEX/POSEIDON"


Last Modified: Fri Jan 22, 1999