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Does anyone know how the atmosphere and ocean influences our weather?
Changes in the ocean temperature can affect weather patterns around the world. One of these cyclic changes is the El Niño/La Niña effect. El Niños occur when there is an abnormal warming of the ocean waters in the middle and eastern equatorial Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.
During normal years, consistent trade winds blow east to west across the ocean surface along the tropical region. If the trade winds along the equator slow or cease, the warm water is allowed to flow back to the middle and eastern Pacific. This layer of warm, nutrient-poor water prevents cold-water upwelling in the eastern Pacific. Without this source of the nutrients, which nourish the algal base of the food chain, the effect on ocean biology is significant. The areas of tropical storm generation are also shifted to the east. The track of the jet stream and approaching storm systems moves south from the wet Pacific Northwest to the dry areas of the Southwest, causing drought in the northern United States and floods in the south.
As trade winds increase, the warm water is pushed back to the west, allowing cold nutrient-rich ocean water to rise from below. This is an example of the La Niña effect, which defines a cooling of ocean surface waters. It generally signals decreased storm activity for the lower latitudes and increased storm activity in the higher latitudes.
I've taken an entire class on oceanography and the environment, so it's hard to sum it up. I found this on a website and it seems fairly comprehensive.
Yes it can. Where do you think hurricanes and tornados come from?