ESRL/PSD Seminar Series

PSD Flash Seminars:El Niño is knocking on our door - what can we expect in the U.S.?

Klaus Wolter
NOAA/ESRL PSD Climate Analysis Branch


While El Niño/La Niña can provide decent guidance for climate outlooks in the Western U.S., this was not very helpful in two winters of ENSO-neutral conditions. We are now on track for El Niño to emerge very soon. The jury is still out on the strength of this event, although expectations of a repeat of 1997-98 are probably ‘irrationally exuberant’. The incoming event needs to couple the tropical Pacific ocean better with the atmosphere to get to at least moderate status. The stronger this event turns out, the more likely much of the western US will see a wetter growing season. In a similar vein, a recent switch in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) – even if only temporary - appears to favor a wetter growing season as well. Recent rains have started to ameliorate ‘dust-bowl’-like conditions in the Southern plains (while increasing flood threats around here). Historically, big droughts like the 1930s and 50s were ended during transitions to El Niño, either gradually (1940-42), or sharply (1957). And, yes, the odds for snow days at BVSD should be better than in the last two years...

Wednesday, May 4
Seminar Coordinator:

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