Power Tools for Technical Communication:
Finishing Graphics (Print Documents)



In this lab, you "complete" a graphic by importing and positioning it on a page and adding a cross-reference, figure title, and documentation to it. To do this lab, you need to have read Chapter 11 of Power Tools for Technical Communication:
  1. Start a document that you create in your preferred word-processing software.
  2. Copy the text on El Niño into that file.
  3. Import the two graphics and position them in the appropriate spots within the text.
  4. Add cross-references from nearby text to these graphics.
  5. Construct figure titles with information about the source of these graphics.
  6. Put your name, Finishing Graphics: Print, and the date on the document, and print it out for your instructor.


(Normal conditions)


(El Niño conditions)

One of the most important sources of year-to-year climate variation in the Southwest is the El Niņo phenomenon of the tropical Pacific Ocean. El Niņo is a natural but largely unpredictable condition that results from complex interplay among clouds and storms, regional winds, oceanic temperatures, and ocean currents along the equatorial Pacific.

Under "normal" conditions, the tropical trade winds blow from east to west, ponding up warm water in the western Pacific. In the eastern Pacific, the trade winds pull up cold, deep, nutrient-rich waters along the equator from the Ecuadorian coast to the central Pacific. The warmth of the western Pacific results in a particularly vigorous hydrologic cycle there with towering cumulus clouds and tropical storms that "radiate" atmospheric waves and disturbances across vast regions of the globe. Heat and moisture lofted into the upper atmosphere by the clouds and storms are distributed by high-altitude winds across vast regions of the globe.

During an El Niņo, this situation is disrupted and the trade winds weaken, thus reducing the upwelling of cool waters in the eastern Pacific and allowing the pool of warm water in the west to drift eastward toward South America. As the central and eastern Pacific warms, atmospheric pressure gradients along the equator weaken, and the trade winds diminish even more. As the waters of the central and eastern Pacific warm, the powerful tropical Pacific storms begin to form farther east than usual. As the distribution of storms spreads east along the equator, their influence on global weather systems also changes. Most notably, for our purposes, the jet stream over the North Pacific Ocean is invigorated and pulled farther south than normal, where it collects moisture and storms and carries them to the southwestern United States and northern Mexico.




Graphics source: "Effects of El Niņo on Streamflow, Lake Level, and Landslide Potential" by Richard Reynolds, Michael Dettinger, Daniel Cayan, Doyle Stephens, Lynn Highland, and Raymond Wilson of the U.S. Geological Survey. This document can be found at http://geochange.er.usgs.gov/sw/changes/natural/elnino/ and it is dated July 10, 1997.


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