With its arrival at Lima, Peru, the University of Hawaii's research vessel Moana Wave has completed the first cruise of the expedition to study El Nino, the warm current that generally develops concurrently with a southerly shift in the tropical rain belt shortly after the first of the year. El Nino is a major destroyer of marine life in the coastal waters of Ecuador and Peru.
As predicted in September 1974 by K. Wyrtki and W.H. Quinn, El Nino conditions developed off Peru and Ecuador in February and March 1975. The R.V. Moana Wave has observed a massive transgression of low-salinity water across the equator just east of the Galapagos Islands; a thin layer of warm water with a salinity less than 33‰ has advanced to 4°S. The area off Ecuador is also covered with warm water of low salinity (less than 34‰). Weak upwelling is still present along the coast of northern Peru, but no cool water is advected northwest from this upwelling area, as it has been in normal years.