El Niño shows prom­ise

Next few months will de­ter­mine wet win­ter, drought re­lief

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - Rong-Gong Lin II ron.lin@la­times.com

Will Cal­i­for­nia get a wet win­ter and maybe a lit­tle drought re­lief ? Sci­en­tists are be­gin­ning to think so.

A new fore­cast seems to sug­gest that El Niño could start show­ing some strength in the fall.

That could be good news down the road for Cal­i­for­nia’s rainy sea­son, ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­port from the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice’s Cli­mate Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter.

Now, it’s be­gin­ning to look un­likely that El Niño will weaken or dis­ap­pear.

It’s “evolv­ing nicely,” said Mike Halpert, deputy direc­tor of the Cli­mate Pre­dic­tion Cen­ter.

“Should we see a re­ally strong event, that tilts the odds to­ward a wet­ter win­ter for you guys” in Cal­i­for­nia.

The next few months will tell, he said, “whether this takes a life of its own … or this backs away a lit­tle bit.”

How strong El Niño will be by win­ter, which is Cal­i­for­nia’s rainy sea­son, is im­por­tant. Very strong El Niños in the past — no­tably in the win­ters of 1982-83 and 1997-98 — have brought sub­stan­tial rain­fall to all of Cal­i­for­nia.

Fore­cast­ers said there is now about an 85% chance that El Niño will persist through the com­ing win­ter.

El Niño is a weather phe­nom­e­non that refers to in­creas­ingly warm tem­per­a­tures in the Pa­cific Ocean along the equa­tor that cause changes in the at­mos­phere. Those changes can have dra­matic ef­fects on weather pat­terns world­wide, from floods and mud­slides in Cal­i­for­nia to mild con­di­tions in the Mid­west.

Kent Nishimura Los An­ge­les Times

LOW CLOUDS hug the hori­zon as Chris­tian Ro­driguez, 19, of Santa Bar­bara skim­boards at the Malibu Pier on Thurs­day.

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