Shown here are some of the components of the ocean observing system that are being deployed in support of El Niño prediction. The red dots are automatic tide gage stations. The yellow squares and diamonds show the locations of moored buoys, which monitor surface wind and other weather elements, as well as water temperatures at several levels below the ocean surface. They operate continuously for months at a time without human intervention. The pink arrows depict the tracks of drifting buoys which measure water temperature and reveal the motion of the surface water. The blue lines represent the tracks of merchant ships that take ocean soundings. Many of these observations are sent directly to weather prediction centers around the world via satellite.

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