El Niño along the west coast of North America, Editorial
Chavez, Francisco P.
Collins, Curtis A.
Mackas, David L.
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The fisherman of northern Peru coined the name El Niño in the late nineteenth century for a warm southward current that appeared every year around Christmas (the Christ child – El Niño). Years of unusually high rainfall in northern Peru were associated with an intensification of the annual current. It was not until the 1960s that Bjerknes (1966) linked warming of the coastal ocean off Peru (and the equatorial Pacific) with larger scale climatic phenomena. It was then that a relatively small and inoffensive coastal current (Chavez, 1986) was associated with dramatic global weather disturbances. Over the last 30 years the influence of El Niño on oceanic and atmospheric conditions throughout the globe has been well documented (Rasmusson and Wallace, 1983; Philander, 1990). More recently, in the 1980s, Peruvian scientists coined the name La Niña for anomalously cool temperatures along Peru. This phenomenon also has significant climatic impacts.