The potential for a “historically strong” El Niño event could persist through the spring
Washington – What was already a strong El Niño event has become stronger, with the potential to reach “historic” levels this winter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) latest update on the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle.
Sea surface temperature anomalies in the central equatorial Pacific, where El Niño thresholds are calculated, were 1.8°C (3.2°F) above average in the October measurement, keeping the event squarely in the “strong” category. Temperatures elsewhere farther east in the Pacific Ocean reached 2.2 degrees Celsius (4 degrees Fahrenheit) above average.
What are the patterns of El Nino and La Niña?
The latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast now indicates that “strong” El Niño levels have a 55% chance of continuing through the winter, and there is a 62% chance of general El Niño conditions continuing into the spring.
“The important reason is to control sea surface temperatures where there are typically large thunderstorms, which is what we call deep convection,” Dave DeWitt, director of NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, told FOX Weather. “And this deep convection actually has a big impact on the jet stream. When you have an El Niño event, the jet stream tends to shift south and east of its normal pattern. And that’s how it has big impacts on the United States.”
Additionally, meteorologists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) indicate that there is now a 35% chance of reaching “historically strong” levels, also known as a “super El Niño,” which is considered to be two degrees above average. 2 Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit).
What is a super El Nino?
El Niño has only reached these levels three times before since 1950.
“When we have a stronger El Niño event, those storms and circulation patterns are usually stronger, which means that this can have a greater impact on the jet stream and a greater impact on the weather in the United States,” said Marybeth Arcodia, a weather scientist. The research scientist at Colorado State University told FOX Weather during an interview in October.
Conflicting signals about the strength of the effects of El Niño
Dozens of computer models are running in various forms to determine the state and predict future cycles of ENSO, but these computer outputs are fairly inconclusive in saying that the 2023-24 El Niño event will reach the significant threshold at all.
Another sign that the El Niño pattern does not follow the typical playbook and may be more difficult for forecasters is the amount of tropical activity observed around the world.
During previous events, at least one ocean experienced a decrease in activity, but this was not the case in 2023 with above-average tropical cyclone formations in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans.
Forecasters say that El Niño episodes and The baby girl It usually lasts between nine and 12 months, but episodes of double or even triple regression can prolong the condition for years.
If we look at “historical El Nino” events.
The killer 1997-98 El Niño
During the winter of 1997-1998, the West Coast endured one devastating storm after another. California alone lost 17 lives, and 27 homes were red-tagged, according to the California Coastal Commission. Los Angeles received a record 13.86 inches of rain in February, according to the National Weather Service.
The Los Angeles Times reported that the damage amounted to more than half a billion dollars.
How to watch Fox Weather
Disabled 2015-16 El Niño
“In January 2016, New York City had its biggest El Nino snow storm ever,” recalled FOX meteorologist Amy Freese.
The city recorded the second largest snowstorm in history. A swath of two feet of snow fell across the East Coast, paralyzing the Interstate 95 corridor.
Once again, the West Coast witnessed unimaginable erosion.
“The 2015/2016 El Niño was one of the strongest hurricanes of the past 145 years, with winter wave energy equaling or exceeding historical maximums measured along the West Coast of the United States and abnormal beach erosion throughout the region,” the committee wrote.
How does the 2023 El Niño compare to 2015?
Currently, sea surface temperatures are behind the three strong historical events. The red line shows above-average subsurface temperatures compared to other El Niño years. So far, 2023 lags behind the heat of 2015, 1982 and 1997, but don’t discount “historical strength.”
“Although there is still a significant amount of heat beneath the surface of the Pacific Ocean — these warm waters provide a surface source — it is not quite at the level seen during previous historically strong El Niños such as 1982-83, 1997-98 or 2015-16.” ” Emily BakerThe associate director of the University of Miami Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies wrote in October.
But she says the world has seen record ocean temperatures this year.