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The amount of precipitation changes during El Niño in many areas of the world.
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Courtesy of NOAA

Teleconnections: Changes in Weather Linked Together

Changes in the atmosphere in one place can affect the weather very far away. Scientists call this phenomenon teleconnections.

Sometimes the way air moves around the atmosphere changes over time. The changes to the atmosphere can last a few weeks, or they might last for many months. These changes cause teleconnections – changes in weather in many places in the world.

There are big changes in the weather in many places during El Niño events. Africa and Australia have weather that is colder and drier than usual. Southern Alaska can become warmer than usual and the U.S. Gulf Coast can be cooler and more rainy than usual. El Niño even affects the weather in Antarctica.

The North Atlantic Oscillation can cause unusual weather all over the Northern Hemisphere like cold and snowy weather in eastern North America, while there is bitter cold in Northern Europe and wet weather in southern Europe and northern Africa.

Last modified September 18, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.

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