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El Niño Has Officially Arrived

El Niño Has Officially Arrived

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 8753
June 8, 2023

Scientists at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center have confirmed the arrival of the anticipated El Niño.

El Niño is a naturally occurring weather phenomenon characterized by above-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator and typically occurs every 2-7 years. However, the influence of El Niño extends far beyond the Pacific Ocean, impacting weather patterns worldwide with potential implications for shipping, from drought in the Panama Canal to stronger cyclone activity in the central and eastern Pacific basins while suppressing hurricane activity in the Atlantic.

Its arrival was confirmed in the Climate Prediction Center’s monthly outlook, which included an El Niño Advisory to note that El Niño conditions are present and are expected to gradually strengthen into the winter.

“Depending on its strength, El Niño can cause various effects, such as an increased risk of heavy rainfall and droughts in specific regions globally,” said Michelle L’Heureux, a climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center. “Climate change can either amplify or alleviate certain impacts associated with El Niño. For instance, El Niño could result in new temperature records, particularly in areas already experiencing above-average temperatures during El Niño events.”

During the summer, El Niño’s influence on the United States is relatively weak but becomes more pronounced from late fall to spring. Winter forecasts indicate an 84% chance of a moderate to strong El Niño, and a 56% chance of a strong El Niño developing. Typically, these conditions lead to wetter-than-average conditions in southern California and along the Gulf Coast, while the Pacific Northwest and Ohio Valley experience drier-than-average conditions. Additionally, El Niño winters often bring higher probabilities of warmer-than-average temperatures across the northern regions of the country.

It is important to note that individual El Niño events may not result in all these impacts, but they do increase the likelihood of their occurrence.

The anticipated persistence of El Niño has also influenced NOAA’s 2023 Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Hurricane Outlooks, which were released last month. El Niño conditions typically suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin while favoring strong hurricane activity in the central and eastern Pacific Basins.

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center will continue to consider the current and projected El Niño conditions in their seasonal temperature and precipitation outlooks. These outlooks are updated on a monthly basis, with the next update scheduled for June 15. The Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook will be updated in early August.

Scientists have been closely monitoring the development of El Niño for the past few months and initially issued an El Niño Watch on April 13, alerting the public to the potential formation of this climate phenomenon.

As El Niño conditions strengthen, scientists and meteorologists will closely monitor its progression and provide timely updates to ensure accurate predictions of its potential impacts on weather patterns across the globe.

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