Video Courtesy of NCAR Vislab

Scientists are currently marveling at this depiction of the progression of ocean surface temperatures over the past year and how similar this years readings are when compared to 1997.

So what does it all mean?

Basically, the degree of warm water in the Pacific determines the strength of an El Niño phenomenon and this year seems to be slightly stronger thus far when compared to 1997!

Rainfall, California, drought

While the following video is good news for the exceptional drought currently plaguing California, it could also mean widespread flooding across the southern continental United States. 

At this point, all Tahoe locals can do is cross their fingers and hope that this depiction means they’re in store for a winter that will surpass the epic winter of 1997, which saw over 40 ft. of snow on Donner Summit.

NOAA El Niño Definition

El Niño: A phenomenon in the equatorial Pacific Ocean characterized by a positive sea surface temperature departure from normal (for the 1971-2000 base period) in the Niño 3.4 region greater than or equal in magnitude to 0.5 degrees C (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit), averaged over three consecutive months.