2009 El Niño & 2010 La Niña

  • Released Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sea Surface Height Anomalies (SSHA) are differences above and below normally observed sea surface heights. Large sustained above average areas (shown in orange and red) off the western coast of South America are an indicator of an El Niño event. In contrast, large sustained below average areas (shown in blue and violet) off the western South American coast are indicators of a La Niña event. This visualization shows the formation of an El Niño event towards the end of 2009 followed by a 2010 La Niña event.

Animation depicting the 2009 El Niño and beginning of the 2010 La Niña. Red, orange, and white indicate areas where the sea surface height anomalies are higher than normal. Cyan, blue, and violet indicate sea surface height anomalies less than normal.

Sea Surface Height Anomalies colorbar

Sea Surface Height Anomalies colorbar


Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio
Generated using AVISO Products

Release date

This page was originally published on Thursday, February 11, 2010.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:54 PM EDT.


This visualization can be found in the following series:

Datasets used in this visualization

  • AVISO: NRT-MSLA (AVISO: Near Real Time - Merged Sea Level Anomalies)

    ID: 699
    Type: Data Compilation

    Combined product from data taken by Envisat, Jason-1, and Jason-2

    See all pages that use this dataset

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