El Niño-Southern Oscillation

A natural variability in ocean water surface pressure that causes periodic changes in ocean surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific ocean. El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has two phases: the warm oceanic phase, El Niño, accompanies high air surface pressure in the western Pacific, while the cold phase, La Niña, accompanies low air surface pressure in the western Pacific. Each phase generally lasts for 6 to 18 months. ENSO events occur irregularly, roughly every 3 to 7 years. The extremes of this climate pattern’s oscillations cause extreme weather (such as floods and droughts) in many regions of the world.Related terms: La Niña, El Niño