El Niño: It’s One For the Books — But Not Behaving As Expected

The prospect of an El Niño event in the Pacific Ocean always generates a stew of excitement, dread, and speculation in California. This largely stems from the fact that two of California’s wettest winters on record — 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 — occurred during the strongest El Niño years in living memory. The popular perception that El Niño always brings a lot of water to the Golden State, though, is not particularly accurate.

The key message here: strong El Niño events are the ones to watch out for from a California weather perspective, and it’s reasonable to expect that such events greatly increase the odds of wet conditions throughout the state.

Subtropical ridging between Hawaii and California has been more prominent so far during 2015-2016 than during the 82/83 or 97/98 events.
Subtropical “ridging” between Hawaii and California has been more prominent so far during 2015-2016 than during the 82/83 or 97/98 events. (NCEP via ESRL)

How is this El Niño different from other ‘Big Ones?’

Depending on how you measure it, the present El Niño is either the strongest or among the strongest events in the observed record going back to at least 1950. Ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean — the most traditional measure of El Niño’s amplitude — have been at or above record-high values for at least several months now. So despite assertions to the contrary, the 2015-2016 El Niño is not “a bust” by any means.

Read the rest of the Article on KQED

_________________________________

Get Citizensjournal.us Headlines free  SUBSCRIPTION. Keep us publishing – DONATE

*Scroll down to post a comment

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.