Thursday, July 9, 2009
The boy is back.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Scientists just announced that the intermittent weather system known as El Niño, which warms central and eastern tropical Pacific waters and occurs on average every two to five years, has returned and should last through this coming winter.
The climate phenomenon, which typically lasts about 12 months, can have a number of negative impacts: damaging winter storms in California and increased rough weather across the southern United States, severe flooding (and accompanying mudslides) in Central and South America, drought in Indonesia, and diminished ocean productivity off the West Coast because of limited upwelling and the nutrient circulation that comes with it.
On the plus side El Niño can help to suppress hurricane activity on the opposite coast, lend winter precipitation to the arid Southwest and soften northern winters.
For more, visit NOAA’s El Niño site.