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Christina Loren is a Certified Meteorologist with an enthusiastic passion for atmospheric science.

What is El Niño?

By: Christina Loren

        An interesting meteorological phenomenon that dictates weather conditions for a given area is the influence of coastal winds on ocean currents. In the open ocean surface currents are directly impacted by global wind patterns. Simply stated, El Niño describes a change in trade wind patterns leading to unusually warm ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean. This alteration in surface ocean temperature has a tendency to create extreme weather changes, specifically between October through March, with peak conditions from December through February. Some of the impacts typically associated with El Niño are a lack of precipitation for parts of Indonesia and Australia and the development of strong storms packed with ample moisture that tend to aim at California and areas in the southwestern United States. Although these effects are characteristic of a strong El Niño pattern, there is no guarantee that this year's event will produce the flooding rain we saw in 1997-1998 in California. In the same way that no two storms are the same, no two El Niños are the same either. There are other atmospheric variables at play that will likely influence how this year's rain season will pan out. Nonetheless, I would be willing to bet that El Niño will at the very least provide the state of California with average rainfall for the 2015-2016 rainy season.

Read Christina Loren's answer to What are the explanations of El Nino? on Quora

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posted by Christina Loren @ 12:27 PM,


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