Skip to comments.In Watching for El Niņo and La Niņa, NOAA Adapts to Global Warming
Posted on 02/15/2013 8:31:04 AM PST by ExxonPatrolUs
No single climate phenomenon has more influence on year-to-year variation in average global temperature than the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). When the central tropical Pacific Ocean is warmer than average (El Niño) or colder than average (La Niña), a cascade of atmospheric changes ensures that many parts of the globe feel the effects.
But heres a problem to consider: if the ocean today is warmer than the long-term average, wont it look like the tropical Pacific is in a permanent El Niño? Wont La Niñathe cool phasejust disappear? Will we have to redefine the nature of these influential climate events?
Its a problem that scientists at NOAAs Climate Prediction Center, the branch of the agency responsible for monitoring and forecasting ENSO events, have been considering for many years. The solution they came up with doesnt change the definition of El Niño and La Niña episodes, but they were forced to reconsider what counts as average temperature in the tropical Pacific.
Defining El Niño and La Niña The ENSO-related temperature fluctuations in the tropical Pacific that have such far-reaching impacts on seasonal climates downstream arent about a specific temperature. Instead, they are about relative temperatures, one region being hotter or colder than usual, and the climate chaos that ensues when things arent normal.
NOAAs operational definition of El Niño and La Niña conditions is pretty basic: seasonal temperatures of 0.5°C warmer (El Niño) or cooler (La Niña) than average in the central tropical Pacific. A season is any rolling 3-month average: December-January-February, January-February-March, and so on. The Climate Prediction Center keeps an online record of all the seasonal temperature anomalies back to 1950.
Back in the 1980s the news media discovered EL NINO. When they began to promote the fear of it something happened on our local weather report.
There was a November snowstorm in Kansas and Nebraska, something common at that time of year.
Our local weather chick was standing outside in the dark,600 miles away from the snow storm. She looked at the camera with a look of absolute terror on her face and said....”The question that is on everyone’s mind, IS THIS EL NINO?”
I wanted to throw a boot through the TV.
They're guessing at best but man is soooo vain.
Quick, somebody tell them it’s not “global warming,” it’s climate change! The seas won’t necessarily be warmer in general, and maybe you won’t have to redefine anything. We l’ve fixed it so that whatever happens is an excuse for socialism, so you don’t have to pretend it’s warming anymore.
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