What Made The 2015/2016 El Niño The Strongest Ever?

What Made The 2015/2016 El Niño The Strongest Ever?

Weather

What Made The 2015/2016 El Niño The Strongest Ever?

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Photo Credit: Mammoth Mountain Facebook Page

Mammoth on March 6, 2016 | Photo Credit: Mammoth Mountain Facebook Page

Looking back, the 2015/2016 El Niño was the strongest ENSO event ever recorded. In its wake, thousands of fish died, coral reefs were bleached to record levels, and drought and excess precipitation reigned supreme– depending on where you live.

However, one question still remains– why?

In a recent research article completed by NOAA, a few scientists think they have a good answer as to why this past year’s El Niño garnered names such as Bruce-Lee, Godzilla, and Super El Niño. According to their research, Aaron Levine and Michael McPhaden are pointing towards the 2014 as the catalyst for the Godzilla El Niño of 2015.

Back in 2014, many were expecting a full-blown El Niño to affect the western United States but the meteorological phenomenon failed to materialize. During the summer months, Boreal Eastern Winds actually kept El Niño at bay. That said, they didn’t squash El Niño either. Throughout the winter of 2014/2015, ocean temperatures remained high– just not El Niño high. Fast forward to 2015 and El Niño ocean temperatures had already received a “head start.”

Looking forward to La Nina? 2016/2017 | Photo Credit: NOAA

Looking forward to La Nina? 2016/2017 | Photo Credit: NOAA

The result was an extraordinary El Niño that broke records across the boards. However, such findings will not make it any easier to predict the likelihood of El Niño’s in the future. Scientists are citing the randomness of winds and how they’re introduction can either squash or exacerbate El Niño conditions.

As far as next season goes, chances are good that we will see La Niña conditions develop by December.

LET IT SNOW!

Find the entire NOAA article here: How the July 2014 Easterly Wind Burst Gave the 2015-16 El Niño a Head Start

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