This is a map of the Pacific Ocean during the 1982-83 winter, showing the incredibly warm sea surface temperature anomaly present during this event.

The 1982–83 El Niño event was one of the strongest El Niño events since records were kept.

It led to widespread flooding across the southern United States, droughts in Indonesia and Australia, and lack of snow in northern areas of the United States. This drastic shift that occurred as a result of this event was responsible for a much warmer winter across much of the mid-latitude regions of North America and Eurasia.[1] The estimated economic impact was over US$8 billion.[2] This El Niño event also led to an abnormal number of hurricanes in the Pacific Ocean during this time span; the strongest hurricane up to 1983 hit Hawaii during this El Niño event.[3]

The snow and rainstorms brought by the 1982–83 El Niño event overflowed Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

It led to declines of 77% among Galápagos penguins and 49% among flightless cormorants.[4] In addition to these losses in penguins and cormorants, this El Niño event caused a quarter of adult native sea lions and fur seals on Peru's coast to starve, while the entirety of both seals' pup populations perished. In the Galápagos Islands, the event killed much of the macroalgae in the area,[5] and Desmarestia tropica is now possibly extinct from overgrazing by herbivores caused by overfishing of predator fish resulting from the event.[6] In Ecuador, heavy rainfall and flooding led to high fish and shrimp harvests; however, the large amounts of standing water also allowed mosquito populations to thrive, leading to large outbreaks of malaria.[7]


  1. ^ Quiroz, Roderick S. (1983). "The Climate of the "El Niño" Winter of 1982-83 - A Season of Extraordinary Climatic Anomalies". Monthly Weather Review. 111: 1685. doi:10.1175/1520-0493(1983)111<1685:TCOTNW>2.0.CO;2. ISSN 1520-0493.
  2. ^ "The 1982-83 El Nino". Retrieved July 22, 2015.
  3. ^ Williams, Jack (2015-06-12). "How the super El Nino of 1982-83 kept itself a secret". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-10-28.
  4. ^ Valle, Carlos A; Cruz, Felipe; Cruz, Justine B; Merlen, Godfrey; Coulter, Malcolm C (1987). "The impact of the 1982–1983 El Niño-Southern Oscillation on seabirds in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador". Journal of Geophysical Research. 92 (C13): 14437. Bibcode:1987JGR....9214437V. doi:10.1029/JC092iC13p14437.
  5. ^ "Desmarestia tropica". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2007. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2007.RLTS.T63585A12684515.en. Retrieved 10 December 2017.
  6. ^ Edgar, G. J.; Banks, S. A.; Brandt, M.; Bustamante, R. H.; Chiriboga, A.; Earle, S. A.; Garske, L. E.; Glynn, P. W.; Grove, J. S.; Henderson, S.; Hickman, C. P.; Miller, K. A.; Rivera, F.; Wellington, G. M. (19 August 2010). "El Niño, grazers and fisheries interact to greatly elevate extinction risk for Galapagos marine species". Global Change Biology. 16 (10): 2876–2890. Bibcode:2010GCBio..16.2876E. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02117.x. ISSN 1354-1013. OCLC 660819334. Desmarestia tropica Tropical acidweed * EF$, herbivore overgrazing associated with interactions between El Niño and overfishing
  7. ^ David, Herring (1999-04-27). "What is El Nino? Fact Sheet : Feature Articles". Retrieved 2016-10-28.