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A Curious Pacific Wave

Description: This brief article discusses about a massive swell of water that was buffeting South America. Kelvin waves are warm bumps in the Pacific Ocean, characterized by a gentle yet massive swell of warm water. Usually not much happens when a Kelvin wave arrives -- beach combers experience a bit of extra rain, perhaps, and slightly warmer surf. Nevertheless, scientists pay careful attention to them because these gentle waves occasionally herald something far more powerful: the next El NiƱo.
Date: March 5, 2002
Creator: Science@NASA