El Nino forecast

Nov. 15, 2015, 11:16 a.m. | By James Sleigh | 8 years, 3 months ago

Meteorologists and experts predict that the 2015-2016 El Niño will be one of the strongest ever recorded. Similar to the strongest storm system recorded during 1997-1998, which resulted in drought, flooding and coral reef die-off, this year's El Niño could have devastating effects worldwide.

A typical El Niño event occurs when Pacific winds slow to halt, allowing warm water, which is normally trapped in the Western Pacific, to spread ward to South America. The warm waters generate more precipitation near North and South America, and a drought in the normally rainy areas of the Western Pacific.

The Oceanic Niño Index (ONI), which measures the surface temperature of the world's oceans, classifies anything over 1.5 on the index as a strong El Niño season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) expects this year's system to climb to 2.0, close to the 2.3 rating from the 1997-1998 season. Though no two storm systems are alike, this year's El Niño is likely to have similarly high and low levels of precipitation as have occurred in El Niño 's of the past.

So how and where will this year's El Niño affect the climate and landscape?

The East coast
Before moving on to the areas that will likely be devastated by storms and rain, let's focus on the local region. How many snow days are expected? Will this added precipitation be all snow?
The truth is, meteorologists just don't know.

According to the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center

Global effects
Though El Niño storms have landfall in and around the Americas, the storm systems often have a global impact. With the strength of the 2015-2016 El Niño, organizations and weather experts are bracing for what could be disastrous climatic impacts.

According to

The elevated temperatures are also slated to bleach even more coral in the world's oceans, according to experts from NOAA. The high temperatures, already spurred on by climate change, will bleach up to 38% of the world's coral by the end of 2015.

When you are in school this winter because of another disappointing rainy day, think this positive thought: at least you aren't in baking in a drought or in the midst of a mudslide. It could be a lot worse.

Tags: winter preview el nino

James Sleigh. Hi there! My name is James and I'm on SCO's staff this year. I like expressing my views on as many different platforms as possible, so follow me on twitt-... just kidding. I like writing Op/eds and covering sports, especially if that sport is soccer. … More »

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