Pacific coast residents beware, this winter season is on course to be one of the most tumultuous on record, with rainfall levels unseen since the events of 1998. We’ve all heard the term, but here are some important El Nino facts to enlighten you of this phenomenon.
1. Ocean currents and winds act unusual
During these events, the water currents and winds begin reacting atypically, leading to uncharacteristic weather throughout the world. Yep, this means that California is not the only potential victim. Ugly weather can be seen throughout the southern Pacific Rim, and into parts of South America.
2. Patterns of unusually warm water have been ongoing
The Pacific Ocean has recorded warmer than normal temperatures for the past several months, which gave forecasters an early indication of the rough conditions to arrive by late 2015.
3. Typically a 12 month cycle
The current system began forming in March of 2015, near the start of the southern hemisphere’s winter. The good news? El Nino has passed its peak intensity and is gradually dissolving. Unfortunately, North America won’t begin seeing this dissolution until March of 2016. Buckle up! More El Nino facts are coming your way.
4. The Northeast should experience above normal temps
Sorry southern U.S., you are predicted to be colder than usual this winter. Meanwhile, the north is on course for record high temperatures throughout winter. We’ve already seen a 70 degree New York City on Christmas Eve 2015, so the chances of more warmth are likely.
5. Could affect commodities in grain-producing countries worldwide
As of early January 2016, we’ve seen stock prices take a hit all over the world. But if El Nino ravages crops, the markets will only weaken further. It is far too soon to panic, but the ultimate concern is the effect the storms will have on food prices and their volatility. It is imperative we absorb these El Nino facts now.
6. It’s not El Nino working alone
Meet my friend Arctic… Arctic Oscillation. He influences many an arctic air mass that moves towards the south and wreaks havoc on the states. Regardless of whether it is an El Nino kind of year, this arctic activity shows up time and again in the form of heavy rain and snowstorms. But when you combine the two, you are looking at pure chaos. Can it be April already?
7. Drought relief in California?
The state has battled with inadequate rainfall for the past five years, and is partially embracing the impeding storms as a means to load up on water and increase the Sierra Nevada’s snowpack. Hopefully this occurs with minimal amounts of damage… and death.
8. Clouds have a lot to do with things
Researchers claim that cloud formations play a major factor in El Nino strength. When a series of clouds accumulate in the higher reaches of the troposphere, heating occurs on the surface below. It seems that this has been the pattern over areas of El Nino in 2015. El Nino facts needs to be taken seriously.
9. Houses built on cliffs
17 Californians died during the 1997-98 winter storms, and millions of dollars in property damaged was incurred. For the residents of the many beachfront communities, it was pure horror. Multi-million dollar properties were leveled by the violent waves, and the damage continued over the following years in the form of mudslides brought on by the loose dirt.
10. El Nino and La Nina are polar opposites
They sound similar, but El Nino and La Nina are essentially on opposite ends of the storm spectrum. While El Nino results from warm water pooling in the western Pacific Ocean, La Nina occurs when the water is cooler than usual. Its effects are drier conditions in the southern portions of America, while El Nino brings rain.