Photo Credit: NOAA
La Niña. The simple Spanish phrase conjures up images of snowbanks and greybird days that are the stuff ski bums dream are made of. And with El Niño officially dead, many are hedging their bets on a transition to La Niña starting this fall– but not so fast.
According to NOAA, the chances of a transition into a La Niña by this fall have been downgraded from a 75% chance to a 55-60% chance. That news, while unfortunate for some, is just another example of how weather predictions can change in the blink of an eye.
“Although 55-60% is far from a sure thing, it means that getting some grade of La Niña, even if just a weak one, is more likely than not.” – Anthony Barnston, NOAA
In their latest report, NOAA indicated that while chances of a La Niña event are being taken down a notch, the phenomenon is still favored to arrive sometime this fall. A surplus of “cooler-than average” water is currently sitting below the surface of the Pacific Ocean and as long as that cold water comes to the surface between now and September, La Nina should to kick into gear.
Typical La Nina years result in a modified jet stream that brings surplus moisture and cold temps the northern half of the western United States. Also, New England and New York usually benefit from above average accumulation.
“To get a La Niña started, someone—the ocean or the atmosphere—has to make the first move. The ocean has done that—the ocean surface has cooled somewhat, and appears to be “waiting” for some stronger surface winds to upwell still colder water. To get the La Niña to grow, we need more upwelling. It is the atmosphere’s turn to play ball. Is it going to kick in or isn’t it?” – Anthony Barnston, NOAA
Find the entire NOAA article here: July 2016 ENSO discussion- Enjoy neutral while it lasts!