No news is no news for El Niño prospects

Posted on | November 12, 2012 | No Comments

“As of October 30, 60.2 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing drought conditions with the most severe conditions in the Great Plains,” reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in its October 2012 “State of the Climate”  summary.

Elsewhere, a recent NOAA update on what had looked like an “El Niño” weather system associated with good rain years in Southern California suggests that the system is petering out. “While the development of El Niño, or even La Niña, cannot be ruled out during the next few months,” reads the November 8 update, ” ENSO-neutral is now favored through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2012-13.”

For an explanation of ENSO, an acronym for El Niño / Southern Oscillation, click here. Crudely shorthanded for those of us in the American Southwest, the adjusted forecast means that we have no prevailing trend of equatorial Pacific Ocean temperatures to give us strong hints about how they will affect weather patterns and whether or not this winter will be a drier or wetter sort of rainy season.

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