The 1982-83 El Niño was the strongest and most devastating of
the century, perhaps the worst in recorded history. During that period,
trade winds not only collapsed-they reversed direction. Its effects were
long lasting as well. It caused weather-related disasters on almost every
continent. Australia, Africa, and Indonesia suffered droughts, dust storms,
and brush fires. Peru was hit with the heaviest rainfall in recorded history-11
feet in areas where 6 inches was the norm. California had very high rainfall
and the year was characterized by extensive flooding and landsliding. The
event was blamed for nearly 2,000 deaths and more than $13 billion in damage
to property and livelihoods. During this period, the thermocline off the
South American coast dropped to about 500 feet. On September 24, in just
24 hours, sea-surface temperatures along a coastal village in Peru shot
up 7.2 degrees F.
The last diagram shows sea-surface temperature anomalies during the 1982-1983 El Niño.
Based on what you have learned about upwelling and El Niño
in this lab, briefly describe the oceanic changes that occurred during this