NOAA: La Niña has ended, El Niño conditions possible by end of year
“ENSO neutral” conditions expected to last into summer
BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The historic “Triple Niña” event has been declared officially over by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In a discussion issued by the Climate Prediction Center, the below average sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean began a shift toward average, which signals the end of a La Niña pattern. The El Niño Southern Oscillation is a complicated process that is thought to affect worldwide temperature and wind patterns from the surface to the top of the atmosphere, but can often be used to predict seasonal outlooks across the globe and even in specific regions.
For Texas, La Niña typically means drier and warmer than average conditions than would be expected in what would be seen as a “neutral” year -- when neither climate pattern is in effect. Typically, during a La Niña event, the jet stream tends to run and remain further north across the Central and Northern United States, often bypassing the southern half of the country from big weather makers. In the last couple months, despite this “Triple Niña” this pattern has largely been responsible for persisting drought across California and Texas. Fortunately, timely rains over the past few years have softened the blow in Texas, and California has put a sizeable dent in their drought status thanks to multiple Atmospheric River events.
El Niño, conversely, is when the water temperatures are above average. Through at least early summer, climate forecasters are expecting the globe to stay “neutral”, which likely means “average” weather for us through the early summer. There is growing confidence that El Niño will form during the summer and continue through the end of the year. Typically, this means wetter, cooler than average weather in our region and across the Southwest/Midwest. This may act to finally crush the drought that persists throughout a lot of the central parts of Texas. El Niño conditions also typically hinder overly active tropical conditions in the Atlantic Basin.
Since 1950 there have been 25 El Niño events and 26 La Niña. While regionally, El Niño correlates to cooler and wetter weather, the average global temperature tends to be higher, leaving some climate scientists to forecast summer of 2023 to be among the hottest around the globe, potentially topping summer 2016.
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