Weather

Jun 19, 2014 4:49 PM by Rob Perillo

El Nino Weaker/Slower to Develop

An update on the status of El Niño was presented at the annual American Meteorological Society Broadcast Conference near Lake Tahoe...and hold the presses, El Niño may not be the significant large scale weather event predicted at the beginning of this year.

El Niño is the an anomalous warming of seas surface temperatures that occurs once every 4-7 years in the tropical equatorial Eastern Pacific.

Typically in moderate to strong El Niño years, the Atlantic Basin hurricane season can be generally suppressed or altered, by increasing upper shear (winds) across the Caribbean which helps to decrease the number and intensity of tropical systems.

In addition, during robust El Niño years, Louisiana generally sees wetter and cooler than normal conditions during the winter.

The latest guidance presented at the conference shows the the current El Niño is lagging well behind previous moderate El Niños with a weak and delayed onset of the phenomenon at best, as of mid-June.

Therefore, El Niño may not be as big of a player this hurricane season, but cooler than normal Atlantic Sea surface temperatures continue to remain slightly below normal, which should aid in reducing the total number of storms.

Per Colorado State's Dr. Klotzbach's latest hurricane season forecast update as of June 2, the numbers were adjusted very slightly upward from the April forecast.

10 named tropical storms are expected in the Atlantic Basin (previous April forecast was 9 and 12 is normal); 4 hurricanes are currently forecast (3 was previously forecast and 6 is the long-term average), with 1 major storm still remaining in the 2014 forecast, where the long term average as been near 2.

If current El Nino trends continue for the next one to two months, the tropical Atlantic Basin forecast number of storms could increase further.

But even if this hurricane season experiences below normal activity in the entire Atlantic Basin, it is stressed that it only takes one storm in your community to make it a very bad season.

It remains unclear if a significant El Niño event may delayed for later this year or into the next, or whether there will be significant development of the phenomenon at all...but current climate modelers still believe the phenomenon will eventually onset, but "when?" won't be answered until later this summer or fall.

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