What's The Latest on El Niño?

As of February 2016, El Niño is still strong across the east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean. As predicted, this warming of the Pacific Ocean has already produced significant global impacts. For example, In November and December, 2015, sea levels in southern California were more than half a foot above normal, in part due to warmer, expanded ocean waters and changing weather patterns. As a result, California is expected to experience higher than usual high tides and increased coastal flooding.

Scientists expect El Niño conditions will continue to affect temperature and precipitation patterns across the United States during the next three months. 

Model indications for February - April 2016:

  • Above-median precipitation across the southern tier of the United States.
  • Below-median precipitation across the northern tier of the United States.
  • Above-average temperatures in the North and West.
  • Below-average temperatures in the southern Plains and along the Gulf Coast.

During the late spring or early summer 2016, most models indicate that El Niño will weaken and the east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean will transition to neutral conditions. There is also a possible transition to La Niña conditions during the fall, where the water temperature is cooler than normal in the same region.

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