Posted on August 9, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Archaeologists, ocean scientists team up on detailed study of historic climate cycles in Pacific Ocean
Study offers new clues to past and future El Niños.
FRISCO — Today’s climate models may not do a very good job of predicting changes in the Pacific Ocean El Niño-La Niña cycle, an international team of scientists said after studying old seashells that display a distinct history of climate variations.
Understanding how El Niño responds to global warming is significant because the undulating rhythm of warming and cooling waters in the equatorial Pacific is a key driver of weather patterns around the world. Some modeling studies have suggested that ancient El Niños may have been weaker than today’s but the new research suggests they were as strong and as frequent as they are now, at least going back about 10,000 years. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: climate change, El Nino, Pacific Ocean | 2 Comments »
Posted on July 30, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A NOAA map shows warmer than average ocean temperatures in red developing off the coast of South American during the past few months, but sea surface temps are also remaining warmer than average across the western Pacific, hampering development of a full-fledged El Niño.
Widespread ocean warmth may hamper development
FRISCO — This year’s brewing El Niño may be dampened by widespread warm sea surface temperatures across the Pacific Ocean, according to weather experts. Specifically, ocean temperatures across the far western Pacific have remained so warm that one of the key ingredients for a full-strength El Niño is missing — a significant difference in temperatures between the western and Eastern Pacific.
But so far this summer, warmer than average temperatures are spread across the Pacific from east to west. Just last week, the National Climatic Data Center announced that the average global temperature for June was the warmest on record, driving in large part by warm oceans. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño | Tagged: climate, Colorado weather, El Nino, NOAA, weather | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 2, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A loggerhead sea turtle swimming over a coral reef. Photo courtesy NOAA/Marco Giuliano.
Ocean advocates say warming ocean drives sea turtles into floating gillnets
FRISCO — Along with the potential for affecting weather over North America, the emerging El Niño conditions on the Pacific Ocean could pose a threat to endangered loggerhead sea turtles, conservation advocates say, calling on federal fisheries managers to implement legally required restrictions on gillnet fishing to protect the turtles.
When ocean waters in the eastern Pacific get warmer, the loggerheads tend to move into commercial fishing grounds, where they often die after getting tangled up in nets. When El Niño is occurring or forecasted, the Pacific Loggerhead Conservation Area (California ocean waters east of 120 degrees latitude) is, by law, closed to drift gillnet fishing during June, July and August. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, El Niño, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: climate, El Nino, endangered species, gillnets, loggerhead sea turtles, weather | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 26, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Wet summer possible across much of Colorado
FRISCO — El Nino may bring above average rainfall to Colorado this summer, Grand Junction-based forecasters with the National Weather Service said in their latest update. The cyclical shift in Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures affects the path of moisture moving off the Pacific and across the western U.S.
Visit NOAA’s El Niño page, where weather experts are maintaining an El Niño blog to track the developing pattern.
NOAA maps show a classic El Niño pattern with a streak of warmer-than-average sea surface temps extending along the equator from the South American coast westward.
Based on computer model projections and comparisons with past years under similar emerging El Niño conditions, probabilities are tilted toward above-average precipitation for much of the summer, especially in late summer going into early autumn.
The biggest effects of El Niño are often felt during the winter months, but right now it’s unclear how strong this year’s El Niño will be or how long it will persist. Looking at the series of most recent El Niños, forecasters detect an overall trend of drier than average conditions, with periods of good snowfall scattered throughout the winter months.
Strong storms in late fall can put down a good base in the Colorado mountains, but El Niño winters are also often marked by long spells of dry weather in between stormy patterns.
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Posted on May 7, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Will El Niño bring a wet summer to Colorado?
Most northern reservoirs expected to fill with above average snowpack and runoff; southern basins, southeastern plains still under drought gun
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Reservoirs in the northern and central Colorado high country will fill on schedule this year, water managers said Tuesday at the annual Summit County state of the river meeting, outlining their expectations for river flows and runoff volume in the Blue River Basin, a crucial water source area for both sides of the Continental Divide.
Most speakers focused was on these headwaters, but statewide maps also showed much of Colorado’s southern tier with below to well-below average snowpack — down to 50 percent in the Upper Rio Grande Basin, according to the Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Colorado snow survey program.
The dry conditions in parts of the eastern San Juans are part of regional Southwest drought footprint, which is increasing demand for this year’s runoff. Southeastern Colorado’s plains are still experiencing Dust Bowl conditions, along with parts of the adjacent south-central plains.
Troy Wineland, water commissioner for the Blue River Basin, said headwater streams in the Blue River Basin are flowing at twice their average volume for this time of year, with peak runoff yet to come. Generally, the Blue River and its tributaries reach peak flows some time in mid-June, though the exact timing is weather-dependent, Wineland said. The state of the river meetings continue the next few weeks with sessions up and down the Colorado River. Details here. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, El Niño, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: Blue River Basin, Colorado River, Denver Water, Dillon Reservoir, Summit County News, water | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 21, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Many ocean regions record warm, even without El Niño
A few spots reported near-record cold in Dec. 2013, but most of the planet saw temperatures well above average during the month, especially the southern hemisphere. Map courtesy NOAA.
FRISCO — Nearly the whole world was warmer than average in 2013, with parts of central Asia, western Ethiopia, eastern Tanzania, and much of southern and western Australia reporting record warmth. No regions of the world were record-cold in 2013.
With record warmth in parts of the Arctic Ocean and a large swath of the southwestern Pacific Ocean, 2013 ended up tied with 2005 as the fourth-warmest year on record for Planet Earth, according to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center 2013 global climate report.
At the same time, the NSDC released the December 2013 global State of the Climate report, showing that the month ranked as the third-warmest on record, at 1.15 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, Environment, extreme weather, global warming | Tagged: 2013 global temperatures, climate, Environment, global warming | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 20, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Study findings suggest more Australian heatwaves
New study analyzes how global warming will affect El Niño events.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Strong El Niños — along with the extreme weather events that are driven by those warm Pacific ocean episodes — are likely to double as the globe heats up.
“During an extreme El Niño event countries in the western Pacific, such as Australia and Indonesia, experience devastating droughts and wild fires, while catastrophic floods occurred in the eastern equatorial region of Ecuador and northern Peru,” said CSIRO Dr. Wenju Cai, lead author of a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
“We currently experience an unusually strong El Niño event every 20 years. Our research shows this will double to one event every 10 years,” said Dr. Agus Santoso, a climate researcher with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. The international research team also included scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Continue reading
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