Forecasters warn this winter’s El Niño could be historically strong.
Every few years, the water in the Pacific Ocean gets warmer than usual. The resulting El Niño (ehl NEEN’-yoh) brings heavy rains to California and changes weather patterns around the world.
Already the second strongest on record for this time of year, the current El Niño is shaping up to be one of the record-setters, said Mike Halpert, deputy director of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center.
Indeed, NASA oceanographer Bill Patzert, who compares this El Niño to Godzilla, said satellite measurements show it is currently more powerful than 1997-98.
This El Niño is likely to make northern winters warmer and southeastern U.S. winters a bit cooler, but not much, said Halpert. The middle of the U.S. usually doesn’t get too much of an El Niño effect, he said.
In addition to California, El Niño often brings heavy winter rain to much of the southern and eastern U.S.
El Niño often puts a big damper on the Atlantic hurricane season while bringing more storms to the Pacific, such as Hawaii, said Halpert. So far this year, tropical cyclone activity in the Pacific is far higher than normal.
There has been “incredible warmth” in parts of the Pacific in the last three months, Halpert points out.
This article implies that El Niño’s warmer waters are caused by shifting wind patterns.
C’mon now. Have you ever tried to heat a swimming pool by blowing air across it? Doesn’t work. I think the excess heat is generated by underwater volcanic activity.
Thanks to Bill Sellers for this link