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El Niño

National Geographic Society

This National Geographic video explains the origins of the El Niño Southern Oscillation using animations and shows the impacts on humans, wildlife and habitat, particularly in the United States.

Video length: 3:10 min.

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Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Use this resource to lead a discussion of the differences between climate variability and climate change.
  • The images are not annotated, so the educator may have to pause and explain what some of the graphics are.

About the Science

  • The video addresses climate variability, not climate change, so the educator needs to explain that distinction.
  • There is no clear link between climate change and ENSO and the video is not trying to make that link.
  • Comment from expert scientist: This is an excellent graphic depiction of El Niño and its consequences. The depiction of the relocation of the centers of convection over the Pacific margins is particularly good. The incorporation of real data –superimposed on the globe– is also excellent and memorable.

About the Pedagogy

  • The video provides a short concise introduction to a discussion of the El Niño phenomena and its impacts.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The video has a short commercial advertisement at the beginning. Educators can pause just after this ad to begin the video during their class without the ad playing.
  • Because of compression, the video is fuzzy at full resolution. It may not be good for projection in a classroom.

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