Understanding potential impacts on climate and seasonal weather patterns
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has officially declared the arrival of El Nino. According to scientists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, this climate event is expected to strengthen into a moderate-to-strong phenomenon by late fall or early winter.
“Depending on its strength, El Nino can cause a range of impacts, such as increasing the risk of heavy rainfall and droughts in certain locations around the world,”Michelle L’Heureux, climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center.
What is El Nino?
El Nino is a natural climate event characterized by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator. This phenomenon recurs every 2-7 years on average, influencing weather patterns beyond the Pacific region.
How does El Nino impact global weather patterns?
Depending on its strength, El Nino can significantly affect rainfall and drought conditions in various regions around the globe. It may also lead to record-setting temperatures, especially in areas that typically experience above-average temperatures during an El Nino event.
El Nino’s influence on U.S. seasonal weather
In the United States, a moderate to strong El Nino typically leads to wetter-than-average conditions from southern California to the Gulf Coast and drier-than-average conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley. El Nino also tends to bring warmer-than-average temperatures across the northern tier of the country.
El Nino’s contribution to hurricane activity
The presence of El Nino also influences the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Hurricane Outlooks issued by NOAA. Typically, El Nino conditions suppress Atlantic Hurricane activity, while favoring stronger hurricane activity in the central and eastern Pacific Basins.
Key data points about El Nino
- El Nino occurs on average every 2-7 years.
- By winter, there is an 84% chance of a moderate to strong El Nino.
- The first El Nino Watch was issued on April 13, 2023.
A climate phenomenon with global implications
The emergence and potential intensification of El Nino have significant global implications. As we grapple with the challenges of climate change, understanding and anticipating the impacts of such events are crucial. El Nino is a stark reminder of our interconnected climate system, nudging us to consider and act for long-term climate stability.