The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Strongest El Niño in history

The L.A. Times reports today that temperatures in the Eastern Pacific are far higher than previous El Niño events:

Temperatures in this key area of the Pacific Ocean rose to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit above average for the week of Nov. 11. That exceeds the highest comparable reading for the most powerful El Niño on record, when temperatures rose 5 degrees Fahrenheit above the average the week of Thanksgiving in 1997.

The 5.4 degree Fahrenheit recording above the average temperature is the highest such number since 1990 in this area of the Pacific Ocean, according to the National Weather Service.

But the center’s deputy director, Mike Halpert, cautioned against reading too much into the record-breaking weekly temperature data.

El Niño has so far been underperforming in other respects involving changes in the atmosphere important to the winter climate forecast for California, he said.

One example: tropical rainfall has not extended from the International Date Line and eastward, approaching South America, as it did by this time in 1997.

In Illinois, our temperatures in the first two weeks of November are also much higher as well. But:

In the last two big events, the above-average temperatures did not appear until December, January, and February. So what does it mean if this November is unlike 1982 and 1997? It just means that no two El Niño events behave in exactly the same way.

We don't know how winter will go; but so far, it feels a lot more like early October than mid-November.


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