LOS ANGELES — A key location of the Pacific Ocean is now hotter than recorded in at least 25 years, surpassing the temperatures during the record 1997 El Nino.

Some scientists say the readings show that this year’s El Nino could be among the most powerful on record – and even topple the 1997 El Nino from its pedestal.

“This thing is still growing and it’s definitely warmer than it was in 1997,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge.

As far as the temperature readings go, “it’s now bypassed the previous champ of the modern satellite era – the 1997 El Nino has just been toppled by 2015,” he said.

Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at Stanford University, called the temperature reading significant. It is the highest such weekly temperature above the average in 25 years of modern record keeping in this key region of the Pacific Ocean west of Peru.

“This is a very impressive number,” Swain said, adding that data suggest that this El Nino is still warming up. “It does look like it’s possible that there’s still additional warming” to come.

“We’re definitely in the top tier of El Nino events,” Swain said.

Temperatures in this key area of the Pacific Ocean rose to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit above average for the week of Nov. 11. That exceeds the highest comparable reading for the most powerful El Nino on record, when temperatures rose 5 degrees Fahrenheit above the average the week of Thanksgiving in 1997.

The 5.4 degree Fahrenheit recording above the average temperature is the highest such number since 1990 in this area of the Pacific Ocean, according to the National Weather Service.

El Nino is a weather phenomenon involving a section of the Pacific Ocean west of Peru that warms up, causing alterations in the atmosphere that can cause dramatic changes in weather patterns globally.

For the United States, El Nino can shift the winter track of storms that normally keeps the jungles of southern Mexico and Central America wet and moves them over California and the southern United States. The northern United States, such as the Midwest and Northeast, typically see milder winters during El Nino.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center has already forecast a higher chance of a wet winter for almost all of California and the southern United States.