10 what does el nino mean for the pacific northwest Ideas

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gests La Niña winters could keep on coming

Environment  |  News releases  |  Research  |  Science

October 3, 2022

snowy scene with bare trees

In the Pacific Northwest, La Niña winters tend to be colder and wetter than average. The past two winters have fit that description, including this February 2021 snowfall in Seattle’s Volunteer Park.Seattle Parks and Recreation/Flickr

Forecasters are predicting a “three-peat La Niña” this year. This will be the third winter in a row that the Pacific Ocean has been in a La Niña cycle, something that’s happened only twice before in records going back to 1950.

New research led by the University of Washington offers a possible explanation. The study, recently published in Geophysical Research Letters, suggests that climate change is, in the short term, favoring La Niñas.

“The Pacific Ocean naturally cycles between El Niño and La Niña conditions, but our work suggests that climate change could currently be weighing the dice toward La Niña,” said lead author Robert Jnglin Wills, a UW research scientist in atmospheric sciences. “At some point, we expect anthropogenic, or human-caused, influences to reverse these trends and give El Niño the upper hand.”

Scientists hope to predict the direction of these longer-term El Niño-like or La Niña-like climate trends in order to protect human life and property.

“This is an important question over the next century for regions that are strongly influenced by El Niño, which includes western North America, South America, East and Southeast Asia and Australia,” Wills said.

El Niño and La Niña events have wide-ranging impacts, affecting patterns of rainfall, flooding and drought around the Pacific Rim. A La Niña winter tends to be cooler and wetter in the Pacific Northwest and hotter and drier in the U.S. Southwest. Other worldwide effects include drier conditions in East Africa, and rainier weather in Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

Knowing what to expect in the future helps communities prepare for potential weather in the coming season and in years to come.

Global warming is widely expected to favor El Niños. The reason is that the cold, deep water rising to the sea surface off South America will meet warmer air. Anyone who’s sweated knows that evaporation has a cooling effect, so the chillier ocean off South America, which has less evaporation, will warm faster than the warmer ocean off Asia. This decreases the temperature difference across the tropical Pacific and lightens the surface winds blowing toward Indonesia, the same as occurs during El Niño. Past climate records confirm that the climate was more El Niño-like during warmer periods.

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But while Earth’s atmosphere has warmed in recent decades, the new study shows a surprising trend in the tropical ocean. The authors looked at temperatures at the surface of the ocean recorded by ship-based measurements and ocean buoys from 1979 to 2020. The Pacific Ocean off South America has actually cooled slightly, along with ocean regions farther south. Meanwhile, the western Pacific Ocean and nearby eastern Indian Ocean have warmed more than elsewhere. Neither phenomenon can be explained by the natural cycles simulated by climate models. This suggests that some process missing in current models could be responsible.

global map colored red and blue

Sea-surface temperature observations from 1979 to 2020 show that the surface of the Pacific Ocean has cooled off of South America and warmed off of Asia. This regional pattern is opposite to what’s expected long term with global warming. A new study suggests that in the short term, climate change could be favoring La Niñas, though it is still expected to favor El Niños in the long term.Wills et al./Geophysical Research Letters

The upshot of these changes on either side of the tropical Pacific is that the temperature difference between the eastern and western Pacific has grown, surface winds blowing toward Indonesia have strengthened, and people are experiencing conditions typical of La Niña winters. The study focuses on temperature patterns at the ocean’s surface. Thirty years of data is too short to study the frequency of El Niño and La Niña events.

“The climate models are still getting reasonable answers for the average warming, but there’s something about the regional variation, the spatial pattern of warming in the tropical oceans, that is off,” Wills said.

The researchers aren’t sure why this pattern is happening. Their current work is exploring tropical climate processes and possible links to the ocean around Antarctica. Once they know what’s responsible, they may be able to predict when it will eventually switch to favor El Niños.

“If it turns out to be natural long-term cycles, maybe we can expect it to switch in the next five to 10 years, but if it is a long-term trend due to some processes that are not well represented in the climate models, then it would be longer. Some mechanisms have a switch that would happen over the next few decades, but others could be a century or longer,” Wills said.

The study was conducted before this year’s potential triple La Niña was announced. But Wills is cautious about declaring victory.

“These year-to-year changes are very unpredictable and it’s important not to get too hung up on any individual year — it doesn’t add a lot of statistical weight,” Wills said. “But I think it’s something that we should watch for in the next few years.”

Co-authors of the study are Kyle Armour and David Battisti at the UW; Yue Dong, a postdoctoral researcher at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory who did the work as part of her UW doctoral research; and Cristian Proistosescu at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

For more information, contact Wills at rcwills@uw.edu. Note: Wills is currently based in Colorado.

Tag(s): College of the Environment • David Battisti • Department of Atmospheric Sciences • Kyle Armour • Robert Jnglin Wills • School of Oceanography • weather


Extra Information About what does el nino mean for the pacific northwest That You May Find Interested

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Study suggests La Niña winters could keep on coming

Study suggests La Niña winters could keep on coming

  • Author: washington.edu

  • Rating: 3⭐ (990684 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 3⭐

  • Sumary: Forecasters are predicting a “three-peat La Niña” this year. This will be the third winter in a row that the Pacific Ocean has been in a La Niña cycle, something that’s happened only twice…

  • Matching Result: A La Niña winter tends to be cooler and wetter in the Pacific Northwest and hotter and drier in the U.S. Southwest. Other worldwide effects …

  • Intro: Study suggests La Niña winters could keep on coming Environment  |  News releases  |  Research  |  Science October 3, 2022 In the Pacific Northwest, La Niña winters tend to be colder and wetter than average. The past two winters have fit that description, including this February 2021 snowfall in Seattle’s…
  • Source: https://www.washington.edu/news/2022/10/03/study-suggests-la-nina-winters-could-keep-on-coming/

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What are El Nino and La Nina?

What are El Nino and La Nina?

  • Author: oceanservice.noaa.gov

  • Rating: 3⭐ (990684 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 3⭐

  • Sumary: El Nino and La Nina are complex weather patterns resulting from variations in ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific.

  • Matching Result: El Niño means Little Boy, or Christ Child in Spanish. South American fishermen first noticed periods of unusually warm water in the Pacific …

  • Intro: What are El Nino and La Nina? To view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Warmer or colder than average ocean temperatures in one part of the world can influence weather around the globe. Watch this Ocean Today video to…
  • Source: https://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/ninonina.html

3rd year of La Niña, a 'triple dip,' predicted for Oregon, Pacific …

3rd year of La Niña, a 'triple dip,' predicted for Oregon, Pacific ...

  • Author: oregonlive.com

  • Rating: 3⭐ (990684 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 3⭐

  • Sumary: A “triple dip” La Nina — the first this century — is caused by three straight years of its effect on climate patterns like drought and flooding worldwide.

  • Matching Result: La Niña conditions typically mean cooler and wetter weather on average in the Pacific Northwest as the jet stream moves in from over the …

  • Intro: 3rd year of La Niña, a ‘triple dip,’ predicted for Oregon, Pacific NW: what does it mean for weather forecast?WeatherUpdated: Sep. 16, 2022, 7:17 p.m.Published: Sep. 16, 2022, 6:30 a.m.The jet stream will keep cool moist marine air moving into the Pacific Northwest, as forecasters predict a continued La Niña.Jamie…
  • Source: https://www.oregonlive.com/weather/2022/09/3rd-year-of-la-nina-predicted-for-oregon-pacific-nw-what-does-it-mean-for-weather.html

NWS JetStream – Weather Impacts of ENSO

NWS JetStream - Weather Impacts of ENSO

  • Author: weather.gov

  • Rating: 3⭐ (990684 rating)

  • Highest Rate: 5⭐

  • Lowest Rate: 3⭐

  • Sumary: As the position of the warm water along the equator shifts back and forth across the Pacific Ocean, the position where the greatest evaporation of water into the atmosphere also shifts with it. This has a profound effect…

  • Matching Result: During El Niño (warm phase of ENSO), the jet stream’s position shows a dip in the Eastern Pacific. The stronger the El Niño, the farther east in the Eastern …

  • Intro: NWS JetStream – Weather Impacts of ENSO The Jetstream Typical average position of the jet stream during El Niño and La Niña As the position of the warm water along the equator shifts back and forth across the Pacific Ocean, the position where the greatest evaporation of water into the…
  • Source: https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/enso_impacts

How El Niño and La Niña Affect Rain in the United States

How El Niño and La Niña Affect Rain in the United States

  • Author: geographyrealm.com

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  • Sumary: El Niño and La Niña are weather patterns that frequently have a considerable impact on the western and southwestern United States.

  • Matching Result: Each phase has certain effects on the climate of the western United States. Warmer sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific mean that, …

  • Intro: How El Niño and La Niña Affect Rain in the United States El Niño and La Niña are two opposing climate patterns that occur over a large area of the Pacific Ocean. Both patterns describe alternating distributions of hot and cold water in the Pacific, which are determined by the…
  • Source: https://www.geographyrealm.com/how-el-nino-and-la-nina-affect-rain-in-the-united-states/

Frequently Asked Questions About what does el nino mean for the pacific northwest

If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic what does el nino mean for the pacific northwest, then this section may help you solve it.

What transpires during an El Nio in the Pacific?

The normal easterly trade winds wane, and occasionally the winds will switch and blow from the west to the east, during an El Nio event, making the sea surface temperatures over the central and eastern Pacific warmer than usual.

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The Pacific Northwest is expected to experience what kind of winter?

Winter temperatures will be milder than average, with precipitation and snowfall slightly below average; the coldest periods will be in mid-November, early and late December; the snowiest period will be in mid-November. Spring temperatures and precipitation will be milder than average in April and May.

What does the Pacific Northwest’s El Nino mean?

The past two winters have fit that description, including this February 2021 snowfall in Seattle’s Volunteer Park, with La Nia winters typically being “b>colder and wetter than average”

How will the Pacific Northwest be impacted by climate change?

Longer fire seasons, longer burns, and increased wildfire risk are occurring in the forests of western Oregon and Washington as a result of the warming and drier climate, and these trends are anticipated to continue as a result of climate change.

The Pacific Northwest is affected by El Nio in what ways?

The Pacific Northwest typically experiences low precipitation and mild winters, sometimes leading to a poor mountain snowpack, as a result of El Nio diverting the jet stream, and thus winter storms, into California, leaving the region high and dry (relatively).

What are El Nio’s three effects?

Numerous health issues, such as disease outbreaks, malnutrition, heat stress, and respiratory illnesses are being brought on by the severe drought and associated food insecurity, flooding, rains, and temperature increases brought on by El Nio.

Will the winter of 2022 be harsh?

The South will experience drier-than-average conditions beginning in December 2022 and lasting through February 2023, while the Ohio Valley, Great Lakes, northern Rockies, and Pacific Northwest will experience wetter-than-average conditions.

In Washington State, will the summer of 2022 be cold?

After a scorching, record-breaking summer in 2021, summer 2022 is predicted to be above average in terms of temperatures and below average in terms of precipitation.

How will the summer of 2022 in Oregon be?

The hottest parts of the summer will be in mid- to late July and early August. September and October will, on average, be a little cooler and drier than normal.

The Pacific Northwest is anticipated to become warmer in 2050 by how much?

For the 2050s (2041 to 2070) relative to 1950-1999, temperature is projected to rise by +5.8°F (range: +3.1 to +8.5°F) for a high greenhouse gas scenario (RCP8. 5). Warming is expected to continue throughout the 21st century in the Pacific Northwest.

Will Seattle experience another heat wave in 2022?

For the 11th time this year, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, as well as a large portion of south King County and the south Puget Sound region, reached 90 degrees on Wednesday.

Where will it be impossible to live in 2050?

All continents will be affected, and scientists predict that it will be very difficult to live in South Asia and the Persian Gulf, which includes nations like Iran, Kuwait, and Oman, in 2050. Even the majority of the world’s warmest and wettest regions have a wet bulb of no more than 25 to 27°C.

Will it be a hot summer in Washington in 2022?

Coming off of a very chilly spring season, summer 2022 was not only dry but warm as well. Seattle experienced temperatures that broke the record 13 times it reached 90 degrees or higher.

Is a hot summer forecasted for 2022?

Almost everywhere in the country, from the Atlantic Corridor south to Florida, up to the West Coast, and nearly everywhere in between, we forecast summer temperatures to be hotter than average.

How will the summer of 2022 in Washington State be?

The hottest parts of the summer will be in mid- to late July and early August. September and October will, on average, be a little cooler and drier than normal.

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