"But which energy source-warm water masses or shifting winds-drives the phenomenon? It is actually both. "El Niņo is like the proverbial chicken-and-egg problem," said Michael McPhaden of NOAA's Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. "During an El Niņo year, weakening winds along the equator lead to warming surface temperatures that lead to further weakening of the winds.""
"El Niņo is like a spring," he said. "Once you set it going in one direction, it doesn't just return to the starting point. It tends to overshoot back in the other direction."
"El Niņo is like the water sloshing back and forth in your bathtub. Normally surface winds blow from east to west along the Equator. This normally pushes surface water higher on the west side of the Pacific Ocean."
METAMIA is a free database of analogy and metaphor. Anyone can contribute or search. The subject matter can be anything. Science is popular, but poetry is encouraged. The goal is to integrate our fluid muses with the stark literalism of a relational database. Metamia is like a girdle for your muses, a cognitive girdle.