Yesterday we took a better look at the climate records of 2010 – a year characterized by many extremes and a ‘binary’ El Niño/La Niña Southern Oscillation – that switched suddenly from the one state to the other, somewhere in July. This year too, there is an ENSO shift in mid-summer, but this time it seems [the extreme La Niña is] fading out, instead of tipping over to an [El Niño] extreme [although El Niño conditions are possible in the second half of 2011].
La Nada is how NASA climatologist Bill Patzert describes the intermediate state of ENSO, neither La Niña nor El Niño – and near-average sea surface temperatures and sea level heights over large areas of the Pacific. And it is thanks to their satellite imagery we know that’s where we have arrived by now.
One little La Niña remnant that does still show on the anomaly map [as blue, low sea level/cold water indication] is situated off the US west coast. Should Pacific trade winds ease down a little more over the next few weeks and months, the US coastal waters too could warm up. This in turn would stimulate precipitation in the southwest, end the drought and help firefighters combat the forest fires.
Hurricane season 2011
A true El Niño state [there is currently some indication off the coast of Peru] could also dampen the Atlantic hurricane season. [NOAA’s forecast says high hurricane activity, UK Met Office says medium – we say keep your eyes on NASA – as perhaps it will be low, and perhaps you can -if you by chance live in Miami- save yourself the 0.9-1.5 billion dollars hurricane prevention costs, or let the Australians pay that for you.]
© Rolf Schuttenhelm | www.bitsofscience.org