No Niña: Pacific Returns To Normal After Strong El Niño Winter

Sea surface temperature patterns of the 2015 El Niño in the Pacific Ocean unfolded differently than those seen in the 1997-1998 El Niño. (NASA)

Sea surface temperature patterns of the 2015 El Niño in the Pacific Ocean unfolded differently than those seen in the 1997-1998 El Niño.
(NASA)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — La Niña isn’t coming out to play.

Californians have been bracing for a dry La Niña winter, which would be typical after last year’s strong El Niño. Instead, the forecast is starting to sound more like a line from Goldilocks: Not too hot, not too cold, just right.

The warmer-than-normal water temperature in the Pacific Ocean that brought last winter’s wet El Niño have returned to normal, and according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and it will stay that way for the rest of 2016. The cooler-than-normal equatorial water temperatures that typify a La Niña weather pattern just haven’t borne out, according to scientist’s forecast models.

“We are consistently predicting a more neutral state, with no La Niña or El Niño later this year,” said Steven Pawson, chief of the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office. “Our September forecast continues to show the neutral conditions that have been predicted since the spring.”

The GMAO uses NASA satellite data to predict the likelihood of an El Niño or La Niña in the coming nine months. The models were spot on in early 2015, when they predicted the big El Niño that came and peaked last November. The opposite happened in 2014, though. The GMAO models forecast an El Niño that never happened.

“There’s a fair degree of uncertainty when you start predicting for nine months ahead,” said Pawson, but so far, the NASA models all point to a very normal, no Niña winter.


CBSSF.com writer, producer Jan Mabry is also executive producer and host of The Bronze Report. She lives in Northern California. Follow her on Twitter @janmabr.

 

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