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Relief for California's devastating drought could be on the way later this year because an El Niño climate pattern is likely to develop in the Pacific Ocean, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported Thursday. El Niño, the planet's most important climate phenomenon, shakes up weather in the USA and around the world.
Although it’s early to think about weather patterns toward the end of the year, models and trends show that Colorado could be headed for a southernly winter storm system. “We are still neutral in the cycle. The models are hinting at going toward an El Nino cycle next fall,” the National Weather Service’s Aldis Strautins said.
January 20, 2014--Extreme El Niño events could double over next 100 years, climate experts warn (Post Independent)
Extreme versions of the El Niño weather phenomenon – which can bring torrential rains and flooding to one part of the world and catastrophic drought and forest fires to another – could double in frequency in the next 100 years because of global warming, a study has found.
El Niño wreaks havoc across the globe, shifting weather patterns that spawn droughts in some regions and floods in others. The impacts of this tropical Pacific climate phenomenon are well known and documented. A mystery, however, has remained despite decades of research: Why does El Niño always peak around Christmas and end quickly by February to April?
March 19, 2013--Drought conditions expected to continue; Overview of state plan given to meeting attendees (Trinidad Times)
Colorado is entering its third year of drought, with the southeast part of the state rated in the most dangerous level of D-4, or extreme drought conditions.
With neither El Niño or a La Niña conditions in the Pacific Ocean, long-range weather forecasters have been struggling to develop confidence in their outlook for the coming spring season — a critical time for much of the West in terms of getting some relief from drought conditions.
The 1950s that could be on the way to Colorado is the decade of drought. So says Brian Bledsoe, a Colorado Springs meteorologist who studies the history of ocean currents and uses what he learns to make long-term weather forecasts.
In a concerning sign for water managers, Colorado’s snowpack is shrinking at a time of year when it usually grows steadily. Through late November, the statewide snowpack is tracking well below the historic average and just barely above the all-time minimum. Late fall and early winter snow tends to freeze into a solid base layer that melts slowly in the spring to sustain spring runoff.
Colorado could be in for another dry winter, but at this point, the state’s water providers have not revealed any specific plans to respond to continued drought. Even after hearing a gloomy outlook on winter precipitation, big municipal utilities said they’re in a wait-and-see mode — and hoping for snow. But there’s no reason to expect a particularly snowy pattern.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a warmer- and drier-than-average winter for 2012-2013 after the El Niño weather pattern didn’t develop as predicted. When El Niño is present, warm water in the Pacific Ocean causes a shift in tropical weather patterns, which in turn affects the jet stream over the United States.