From NOAA this morning:
"The long-anticipated El Niño has finally arrived, according to
forecasters with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. In their updated monthly outlook
released today, forecasters issued an El Niño Advisory to declare the
arrival of the ocean-atmospheric phenomenon marked by
warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific
Ocean near the equator.
Due to the weak strength of the El Niño, widespread or significant
global weather pattern impacts are not anticipated. However, certain
impacts often associated with El Niño may appear this spring in parts of
the Northern Hemisphere, such as wetter-than-normal conditions along
the U.S. Gulf Coast.
“Based on the persistent observations of above-average sea surface
temperatures across the western and central equatorial Pacific Ocean and
consistent pattern of sea level pressure, we can now say that El Niño
is here,” said Mike Halpert, deputy director, NOAA’s Climate Prediction
Center, and ENSO forecaster. “Many climate prediction models show this
weak El Niño continuing into summer.”
Forecasters say it is likely (50 to 60 percent chance) that El Niño conditions will continue through the summer.
The last El Niño, in 2009-2010, was a moderate to strong event. Other
recent El Niño’s took place from 2002-2003 (moderate), 2004-2005
(weak), 2006-2007 (weak to moderate). The last very strong El Nino was
1997-1998 and was known for providing heavy rainfall in the West,
especially California. As for this year, “this El Nino is likely too
late and too weak to provide much relief for drought-stricken
California,” added Halpert.
NOAA scientists will continue to monitor the situation and will issue its next monthly update on April 9th."
For more information, go here.