Posted on May 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wet, cool spring brings relief to Midwest
The most severe areas of drought encompass parts of the central-southern plains, spreading southwest into parts of Colorado and New Mexico.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Drought woes have eased in the Midwest after a wet spring, but the far West, California in particular, are facing continued dry conditions. California has reported its driest year to-date on record, with only 27 percent of normal precipitation for January through April. That doesn’t bode well for the state’s water supplies, although at least reservoir storage is close to normal in California.
New Mexico and Nevada are in bad shape when it comes to reservoir storage and there’s little relief in sight at the end of the snow season. Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said dry soil conditions in the southwest could contribute to higher than average temperatures this summer. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, La Niña, Uncategorized | Tagged: California, climate, drought, ENSO, La Niña, National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, New Mexico | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 18, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Spring outlook trends toward warm and dry conditions
The Madden-Julian Oscillation has played a role in Colorado weather this winter.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — 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.
A wet and cool spring could at least take the edge off the drought in some areas, helping to maintain stream flows and reduce the potential for massive and dangerous wildfires. Conversely, a return to last year’s very dry and warm spring pattern would spell trouble for places like Colorado.
So if the El Niño-La Niña cycle isn’t driving the weather, what is? What we do know is that conditions over the Pacific Ocean are the key to understanding exactly what path storms will take across the western United States, and that conditions in the North Atlantic can also be a factor. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, El Niño, La Niña, Summit County Colorado, Weatherblog | Tagged: Colorado weather, drought, El Nino, ENSO, La Niña, Madden-Julian Oscillation | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 4, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
20th century oscillations show intensification that may be linked with global warming
A NOAA graphic showing early January 2012 ocean surface temperature anomalies.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Atmospheric scientists say they’ve used coral records to trace the history of El Niño cycles going back about 7.000 years, showing that 20th century oscillations are much stronger than those captured in the fossil record.
But the study also showed large natural variations in past ENSO strength, making it difficult to attribute the 20th century intensification of ENSO to rising carbon dioxide levels. Such large natural fluctuations in ENSO activity are also apparent in multi-century climate model simulations, but the 20th century intensification stands out as statistically significant and could be linked with global warming.
The new information will help assess the accuracy of climate model projections for 21st century climate change in the tropical Pacific. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, El Niño, Environment | Tagged: Atmospheric Sciences, climate change, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, El Nino, ENSO, Georgia Institute of Technology, Pacific Ocean, Scripps Institution of Oceanography | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 11, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Forecasters call for neutral conditions, but say a La Niña is not out of the question
n El Niño never managed to establish itself in the equatorial Pacific this year.
The three-month precipitation outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — With sea surface temps cooling to near average in much of the equatorial Pacific, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has dropped an El Niño watch that’s been in effect for the past several months.
El Niño is part of a cyclical pattern of sea surface temperature variations that affects global weather patterns. The emerging El Niño forecast last spring and summer offered some hope for drought relief in the parched Southwest and the southern tier of states, where warmer than average Pacific Ocean temps can help boost winter and spring precipitation.
During La Niña years, when cooler-than-average sea surface temperatures prevail in the same region, the storm track often shifts northward, driving storms into the Pacific Northwest and then down across the northern Rockies and northwest Colorado. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, El Niño, La Niña, seasons, Snow and weather | Tagged: climate, Colorado snow, Colorado weather, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, El Nino, ENSO, La Niña, Pacific Decadal Oscillation, weather | 3 Comments »
Posted on November 1, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Forecasters not bullish on big winter
drought conditions persisted across most of Colorado during the past three months.
Temps from mid-September to mid-October average 1 to 3 degrees above average in western Colorado and 1 to 3 degrees below average east of the Rockies.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — This winter’s iffy weather pattern doesn’t hold the promise of significant drought relief, according to the National Weather Service’s Boulder office, which released its winter winter weather outlook this week.
There’s a reasonable expectation that the state will see more storms than last winter, but forecasters don’t expect those storms to be as intense or long-‐lasting as those commonly observed during stronger El Niño or La Niña episodes, as the storm track is expected to be inconsistent in what looks to be either a weak El Niño or even neutral Pacific ocean conditions. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado, El Nino, ENSO, La Niña, weather, winter weather outlook | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 19, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Impacts on Colorado uncertain
Warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures are spreading west from the coast of South America, potentially heralding a developing El Niño.
The three-month precipitation outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center highlights a chance for above-average moisture in the Southeast and a small arc of the Southwest.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A classic El Niño may be developing across the eastern Pacific, with warmer-than-average water temperatures starting to spread westward from the coast of South America, according to NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
For the month of June, the pattern of sea surface temperatures overall remained in a neutral phase, but with growing positive (warmer than average) equatorial Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies, NOAA has issued an El Niño watch, reflecting a likely emergence of of El Niño in the late summer or fall. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, El Niño | Tagged: Climate Prediction Center, Colorado weather, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, El Nino, ENSO, La Niña, weather | 1 Comment »
Posted on July 9, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
El Niño cycles seen as key factors in coral reef ecology. Photo courtesy NOAA.
Extreme El Niño cycles seen as cause of coral decline
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A period of dramatic El Niño-La Niña cycles that started about 4,000 years ago resulted in the near-total collapse of some Pacific coral reef ecosystems, according to a new study that took a close look at long-dead reef skeletons along the Pacific Coast of Panama.
The cross-sections of reef covered the last 6,000 years and showed a “reef shutdown” that lasted about 2,500 years, according to the study, published last week in Science. Similar gaps in coral growth were found as far away as Australia and Japan. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, El Niño, Environment, La Niña | Tagged: biodiversity, coral reefs, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, ENSO, Florida Institute of Technology, La Niña, oceans, Pacific Ocean | Leave a Comment »