Facilitating student understanding about climate science: El Niño as an online case study


  • Neil J. Holbrook
  • Elizabeth Devonshire


El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has been shown to be the dominant factor affecting year-to-year climate changes globally, and may dramatically affect rainfall patterns around the world. In the education of climate scientists, it is critical that they comprehend the complex concepts that underpin ENSO. This paper discusses an online practical (tool) developed to teach undergraduate students the fundamental principles that underpin not only the average state of the ocean, but also ocean variability associated with ENSO. Results from two formal student evaluations of this practical, one by third year physical geography students and the other by second year physics students, will be presented and discussed.