NOAA: 1997 El Nino & 2015 El Nino Side by Side Comparison

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1997 El Nino VS 2015 El Nino
1997 El Nino VS 2015 El Nino

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“The 1997-1998 El Niño was distinguished by record-breaking warm sea surface temperature anomalies in the equatorial east-central Pacific Ocean. So far in 2015, increasing equatorial warmth is developing alongside a positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation, characterized by persistently higher sea surface temperature anomalies of the northeastern Pacific.” – NOAA

NOAA just released this visual comparison of the 1997 El Nino (the strongest on record) side by side with the current El Nino that could potentially develop into the strongest El Nino on record.

The main difference you see when you look at these two maps is that the Eastern Pacific near California and western Canada is much warmer this year verses 1997’s El Nino.

NOAA precipitation forecast for winter 2015/16. NOAA expects higher than average precip in the southern half of the country and drier than average conditions in the Pacific Northwest
NOAA precipitation forecast for winter 2015/16. NOAA expects higher than average precip in the southern half of the country and drier than average conditions in the Pacific Northwest

The strong El Nino currently developing in the Pacific ocean is forecast to bring above average precipitation to California, Arizona, south Colorado, & New Mexico with above average precipitation forecast.  

NOAA's Temperature outlook for winter 2015/16 in the USA.
NOAA’s Temperature outlook for winter 2015/16 in the USA.

The strong El Nino for 2015/16 forecast looks bad for the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho with below average precipitation forecast and well above average temperatures forecast.

California and El Nino.
California and El Nino.

4 out of the 5 El Nino’s on record in California have dropped above average precipitation in California.


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