Could El Nino be Returning to the US??? | Weather
According to NOAA there is an El Nino watch across the equatorial Pacific as an El Nino is expected to start to return in September of 2012. So what is exactly an El Nino? Here is the definition according to NOAA:
The index is defined as a three-month average of sea surface temperature departures from normal for a critical region of the equatorial Pacific (Niño 3.4 region; 120W-170W, 5N-5S). This region of the tropical Pacific contains what scientists call the "equatorial cold tongue," a band of cool water that extends along the equator from the coast of South America to the central Pacific Ocean. Departures from average sea surface temperatures in this region are critically important in determining major shifts in the pattern of tropical rainfall, which influence the jet streams and patterns of temperature and precipitation around the world.
What exactly is El Nino?
Just a brief history on what El Nino is: El Nino was discovered by fishermen off the coast of Peru a very very long time ago. They noticed that every once in a while the fish that they needed to survive on sometimes died off..... Basically some years the fishing would be so bad that they would actually go hungry until the fish came back.... What was happening was a change in the trade winds in S. America. Normally the winds blow from the land out to see, this would create what is known as upwelling. The winds coming off the land would push the layer of water at the top out to sea so that the cooler water from below would come up to replace it. This happened most of the time, but every once in a while the winds would change direction and the upwelling would stop. When the upwelling stopped the natural mechanism that kept the water of S America cool stopped also and the water warmed. Warm water is not good for nutrients for fish, so they would all die.... Since the fishermen in Peru and Chile noticed this around Christmas every time it happened they named it El Nino for "The Christ Child".
When the waters warm off the coast of S America it creates some serious problems for N America as we are normally sent into a pretty wild weather pattern for parts of the US. From my experience in what I have seen is that we sometimes in the central and eastern US we can get into a cooler and wetter than normal weather pattern during the summer.
El Nino Forecast For This Winter
According to the CPC, El Nino is forecasted to make a return to the waters of the pacific starting this September and could last through early next year... but I have my doubts... Looking at the image above and the below you will notice that the waters got really warm in late August then they have actually have cooled since then. None the less the computer models that make these predictions are almost all calling for warming waters in region 3.4 (the region that is the El Nino region) and a relatively moderate to strong El Nino to begin here soon.
What Does This Mean For Us
I am somewhat in agreement with the long range forecast from the CPC based on the variable of El Nino. If it does kick in statistically we could see a wetter than normal winter with temps right at the average. take a look at the three month outlook from the CPC down below. This is a classic "El Nino" pattern for the months of November , December, and January where the SE has above normal rain and near normal temps. The reason for this is the Jet Stream, it reconfigures due to a ridge of high pressure that develops over the warmer than normal temps off the waters of the Pacific. That buckle essentially forces the jet stream to dip and take a southerly route from the SoCal area into the southern Gulf States. This is exactly what is showing up here in the CPC prediction.
I personally think it will be a wetter than normal winter with below normal temps, but that official prediction will be out next week.
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