El Nino could be strong­est in mod­ern history: re­searchers

The China Post - - LIFE -

The El Nino weather phe­nom­e­non that be­gan this year could be among the strong­est in 65 years, U.S. gov­ern­ment sci­en­tists said Thurs­day.

El Nino comes with a warm­ing in sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures in the equa­to­rial Pa­cific, and can cause un­usu­ally heavy rains in some parts of the world and drought else­where.

This year’s El Nino be­gan in March and is forecast to last about a year. Author­i­ties in Aus­tralia have al­ready pre­dicted it would be “strong” and “sub­stan­tial.”

That trend is still ex­pected to con­tinue, said Mike Halpert, deputy di­rec­tor of the U.S. Na­tional Oceanic and At­mo­spheric Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Cli­mate Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter, on a con­fer­ence call with re­porters to dis­cuss the agency’s latest forecast, re­leased Thurs­day.

“What is new this month is we are pre­dict­ing that this El Nino could be among the strong­est El Ni­nos in the his­tor­i­cal record dat­ing back to 1950,” said Halpert.

The rea­son for the forecast is the find­ing that three months of av­er­age sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures in a key part of the equa­to­rial Pa­cific “could po­ten­tially reach or even ex­ceed two de­grees Cel­sius above nor­mal, which is 3.6 de­grees Fahren­heit above nor­mal, a value that we have only recorded three times in the last 65 years,” he said.

Such tem­per­a­tures were pre­vi­ously seen in the 1972-73 sea­son, 1982-83 and 1997-98.

The south­ern United States from Florida to cen­tral Cal­i­for­nia may ex­pect higher than nor­mal lev­els of pre­cip­i­ta­tion, as can the U.S. East Coast as far north as New Eng­land, Halpert said.

The north­ern Rock­ies, Great Lakes, Hawaii and western Alaska may be dryer and warmer than nor­mal, he added.

Even though fore­casts of rain will be welcome in drought-rav­aged Cal­i­for­nia, Halpert said it would not be enough to re­fill the state’s reser­voirs.

“One sea­son of above av­er­age rain and snow is very un­likely to erase four years of drought,” he said.

The last El Nino, five years ago, had a ma­jor im­pact: it trig­gered mon­soons in South­east Asia, droughts in south­ern Aus­tralia, the Philip­pines and Ecuador, bliz­zards in the United States, heat­waves in Brazil and killer floods in Mexico.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Taiwan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.