There has been a lot of buzz over the last few months of an El Nino taking shape across the globe. These often bring wet conditions to the southern and western U.S. and warmer conditions to the state of Minnesota. But recent observations are showing that our El Nino may not even happen.
There are many different ways to measure if an El Nino is occurring, but the main way is to measure sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific… it's this area that is often most affected by an El Nino event. Well, the latest trends aren't promising…
This graph shows sea surface temperature anomalies for parts of the Pacific… basically shows what temperatures are like compared to average. El Nino events warm these waters with temperatures often 2, 3, or even 4 or more degrees Celsius warmer than average. What's occurred over the last month is surprising with an overall decrease in temperature from around a degree above average to around normal. That's not a good sign that an El Nino event is occurring or will occur anytime soon. Now, fluctuations in temperature happen all the time, just like every other part of the globe so this doesn't necessarily tell us anything. In fact, there have been several El Nino years that surface temperatures in the Pacific rose exceedingly fast, several degrees in just a few short weeks.
So what does this mean exactly? Well, honestly nobody knows. Every long range computer model is still forecasting some kind of El Nino during the year (albeit, much weaker than they were thinking a few months ago), but many climate scientists are still baffled at why it hasn't started yet and just proves that the science of long range forecasting has a LONG ways to go. I guess, we will just have to continue to wait and see.