Sunday, February 12, 2017

"Bye bye La Niña, we hardly knew you. (And btw, is that your baby brother, El Niño, lurking there in the shadows?)"

From Discover Magazine:
With La Niña’s demise, just a small patch of blue indicative of cooler than average sea surface temperatures remains in the central equatorial Pacific Ocean. Meanwhile, very warm water has formed off the coast of Peru. (Source: NOAA View)
The La Niña of 2016 is now officially gone. Following on from a monster El Niño, it turned out to be one of the shortest and weakest on record.

La Niña, which can influence weather across many parts of the world, is characterized by abnormally cool surface waters in the central equatorial Pacific Ocean. Those have now mostly dissipated, leaving behind temperatures that are close to average for February. Forecasters expect these neutral conditions to continue for the next few months.

Despite its relative puniness, 2016’s La Niña did produce some typical impacts in North America. For example: a warmer than normal winter so far in the South, and unusual cold in Alaska, western Canada, and the northern Plains.

But most Californians can’t really thank La Niña for the incredible bounty of drought-busting rain and snow they’ve received this winter. While the Pacific Northwest and northernmost California typically are wetter than normal during La Niña episodes, central California is not.

Beyond April, what might be coming? During this time of the year, that is exceedingly difficult for forecasters to predict. That’s because of something known as the spring predictability barrier....