Super El Niño?

Early temperature indications back in February were already hinting at anomalously warm ocean waters forming...

Early temperature indications back in February were already hinting at anomalously warm ocean waters forming...

Most of my blog to date has been focused on nowcasting and short term forecasting, but this post I want to focus on long range climate factors including ENSO (El Niño–Southern Oscillation). These are the variations in temperature of the surface waters of the tropical eastern Pacific Ocean. 

But first, what exactly is El Niño?

Definition: The most basic definition of El Niño is an area of above average water temperatures that occurs of the coast of South America. Typically, El Niño has high pressure situated in the western Pacific. 

  • One key indicator that has been observed early this spring includes the typical westerly trade winds switching to easterly.
  • A close watch will need to be kept on the fishing industry along Peru's coast. This sensitive industry is prone to collapse 

Unfortunately nearly 60 % of NOAA's ocean buoys used to monitor this sensitive process are currently offline and are in need of dire maintenance. No date has been set for these urgent repairs... 

As you might have heard, NOAA has issued an 'El Nino Watch.'

What does this mean exactly? Are we guaranteed an El Niño? 

No.

According to NOAA, we have approximately a 50% chance of developing El Niño conditions by the summer months... 

Typical Consequences of El Niño

Regional Impacts in Canada: (bold points pertain to BC)

Source: http://www.oc.nps.edu/webmodules/ENSO/NA_EN.html

  •      Western Canada has lower heating bills during an El Niño.

  •      There is reduced risk of spring flooding due to the lower amounts of snow.

  •      Fisheries have greater return on sockeye salmon, navigating further north with         the warmer coastal water.

  •      More icebergs impeding travel on the eastern seaboard.

  •      Ski areas are effected by the mild weather.

  •      Thin ice on the Great Lakes poses a hazard.

  •      Landslides, storms, and flooding in British Columbia

Latest news today indicates that there's now greater than a 70% chance of El Niño conditions developing, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)