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 April 12, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Natural climate variability the biggest player, scientists say
Drought conditions persist across the central part of the country.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Last summer’s crippling Great Plains drought can’t definitively be linked with global warming, according to a team of federal scientists from various agencies. In a new report issued this week, the researchers said the drought was probably caused by a confluence of natural climate variations that might only come together in a similar constellation once a century.
Cyclical variations in ocean temperatures — especially the combination of a cooler-than-average Pacific Ocean and a warm phase of the North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation may have nudged the region toward drought conditions, but those factors tend to be more of a factor in suppressing winter precipitation. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Drought, El Niño, global warming, La Niña, Uncategorized | Tagged: 2012 drought, Dust Bowl, El Nino, global warming, Great Plains, La Niña, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | 2 Comments »
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 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 October 17, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
An El Niño often brings decent October precipitation to the high country, but signals are mixed this year.
No clear signal means water managers will be biting their nails for a few months
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Without a strong El Niño or La Niña signal, Colorado weather watchers are struggling even more than usual to get a sense of how much snow to expect this coming winter, critical information for water managers who have seen reservoir storage dwindle to below 70 percent of average for this time of year.
Even if winter snowfall is close to normal, some reservoirs are unlikely to refill completely next spring, leaving utilities in the position of hoping for an above average winter.
“We’re far from through this. The story has yet to unfold,” Blue River Basin water commissioner Troy Wineland said after participating in a weekly statewide water webinar, explaining that many local streams are flowing well below seasonal averages. A few others are close to average due to upstream releases of stored water, he said. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, El Niño, La Niña, seasons, Snow and weather, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado winter weather outlook, El Niño-Southern Oscillation, El Nino, Klaus Wolter, La Niña, Pacific Decadal Oscillation | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 8, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
El Niño still struggling to develop
Will a negative Pacific Decadal Oscillation influence Colorado’s winter weather? Graphic courtesy NASA.
The three-month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Climate experts are still hedging their bets when it comes to an outlook for the coming winter, with the official outlook from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center showing no strong trend toward above- or below-average precipitation.
A somewhat murky El Niño outlook is clouding the picture, with sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific ranging above average, but cooling down from just a month ago.
“It’s vexing … the models are just not up to the task,” Wolter said. Overall, he said he’s “guardedly optimistic” that Colorado will see at least close to an average snowfall year, which would would be critical to maintaining water supplies in the state’s depleted reservoirs. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, El Niño, La Niña, Snow and weather | Tagged: Colorado winter outlook, El Nino, La Niña, North Atlantic Oscillation, Pacific Decadal Oscillation | Leave a 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 17, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Land-surface temperatures at an all-time high
Above-average temperatures prevailed across most of the world, adding up to the fourth-warmest June on record
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The global temperature in June, averaged from thousands of weather stations, was the fourth-warmest on record for the planet, at 1.13 degrees above the 20th century average, according to the monthly update from the National Climatic Data Center.
Land-surface temperatures measured alone set an all-time record for the month, with the northern hemisphere at 2.34 degrees above average and globally at 1.93 degrees above average. June was the second consecutive month with record global land surface temperatures. The last time June temperatures were below average was in 1976.
In the Northern Hemisphere, it was the third month in a row with record-setting heat over land, with most areas seeing temperatures running well above average. Only northern and western Europe, and the northwestern United States were cooler than average. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, greenhouse gases, La Niña, seasons | Tagged: climate, global temperatures June 2012, global warming, La Niña, National Climatic Data Center, Northern Hemisphere | Leave a 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 »