Below is a more detailed view of how El Niño rearranges the distribution of rainfall over the tropical Pacific. The colors indicate the distribution of sea-surface temperature for the cold month of November 1988 and the warm (El Niño) month of November 1982, the same months for which the pressure patterns are shown here. Red indicates warmer water and blue indicates colder water. The regions of heavy rainfall as viewed by satellite are indicated by the clouds. The surface winds on the equator are indicated by the arrows. Note how tropical rainfall was suppressed wherever the sea-surface temperatures were lower than about 80°F (bluer colors).

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