Friday, April 28, 2017

WHAT? Not Again!

I wanted to write "who can forget the El Nino of 2015-2016?" until I thought of today's dreaded Memory Hole. Let's start again. Do you remember the devastating El Nino of 2015-2016. If you do, you might be surprised that it's expected to return before 2017 is out.

We had a brief interlude of El Nino's nasty step-sister, La Nina, that brought drought-quenching relief to California, but that lasted about six months and then - poof. Still it had been thought we might have an extended ENSO-neutral stretch of breathing room for a couple of years or more. Apparently not.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Friday that a new El Niño was 50-60% likely before the end of 2017. “Memories are still fresh of the powerful 2015-2016 El Niño which was associated with droughts, flooding and coral bleaching in different parts of the world and which, combined with long-term climate change, led to the increase of global temperatures to new record highs in both 2015 and 2016,” said Maxx Dilley, director of WMO’s climate prediction and adaptation division.

It is unusual for El Niño conditions to return so swiftly, said Tim Stockdale, principal scientist at the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts(ECMWF), one of the leading prediction centres around the world and which contributed to the WMO forecast. “Normally we would expect a longer interval before another warming. But, having said that, El Niño variability is really rather irregular.”

..regional warming associated with El Niño has already caused very heavy rains and floods in Peru and Ecuador, after the sea surface temperatures in the far eastern tropical Pacific ocean rose to 2C or more above average during February and March. This phenomenon has in the past sometimes been followed by a global El Niño.

Another concern is that the variation in El Niño over decades may be switching to a new, hotter phase. “For the last decade, the tropical Pacific has tended to be on the cold side, and that has helped keep global temperatures down. With this warming coming back so soon, it makes you wonder if the decadal trend is a bit more on to the positive side,” said Stockdale. “Obviously if that were sustained over the next five to 10 years, it would make the global warming signal stand out more strongly than it has done over the past decade.”

Here's a good animation to explain El Nino from Britain's Met Office.


Lorne said...

Sadly, Mound, too few are willing to connect the dots.

Toby said...

Lorne, those folks won't start connecting the dots until a series of Jupiter sized hurricanes work their way up the American coast from Key West to Halifax, the oceans rise 25 metres, every farm in the American West and Canada's boreal forest burn up and even then they will conclude that it's all God's revenge for sinful life styles.

Danneau said...

Does this mean that we're going to be just like England? There is a series of frames in an old Astérix comic when the men are on their way to Britain, crossing the channel in a frêle esquiffe, following the usual donnybrook with pirates when they get mired in a fog bank. Obélix inquires of their British host whether it's always foggy in Britain, to which the reply is: "Ohw, non, settlement quand il ne pleat pas." (no, only when it's not raining.) I guess I'll get good at growing cabbages.

Anonymous said...

The devil is in the details.
Check out the comments .
Comments on most websites are a good indicator of public opinion.

The USA really does have it's head up it's arse.

Give me that old white picket fence and a 454 cubic inch!!!