BY JAVIER CRUZ AGUIRRE
Ensenada, 21 November.- Updating the rain forecast for Baja California and the status of the weather phenomenon El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the Centre for Scientific Research and Higher Education of Ensenada (Cicese) predicted an increase in rainfall in the state from December; February will be the month with more rains throughout the season.
Regarding the strength and permanence of ENSO, the Department of Meteorology warned that Cicese remain strong until the end of winter in the Northern Hemisphere, gradually weakening towards the spring of 2016.
A joint report Meteorologist Higareda Santiago Cervera, the researcher Edgar Pavia and the Department of Computer and Peace Unit, all of Cicese reveals that in November the rainfall anomaly with respect to the climate of the entity will be between 100-125 per percent above the average for the coastal region, the equivalent of 26 to 30 millimeters of precipitation of water above normal.
But in December the anomaly will grow 175 percent in Tijuana and Rosarito; will reach 200 percent in Tecate, Ensenada and Mexicali, and San Quentin and the rest of southern municipality of the state is 225 to record rainfall averages between 50 to 70 millimeters of rainfall.
The trend of increased rain will continue in January 2016, when Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada will have 275 percent of rainfall above normal for coastal weather; San Quintin and San Felipe record 250, Mexicali and its valley will grow from 300 to 350, and south of Ensenada (El Rosario at Parallel 28) fluctuate between 300-375 percent above average.
February has forecast more heavy rain; CICESE indicates that Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada fluctuate between 275-300 percent above normal climate (ie up to 90 millimeters of rainwater historic month average), Tecate reach 325, Mexicali 250-300 and San Quintin, San Felipe and the rest of the south of the state will have 300 to 400 percent more rainfall.
By March the percentage and amount of rainfall will be less. Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Tecate and San Quentin can register 175 percent; 150 San Felipe and Mexicali receive between 175-225.
The researcher of the Department of Physical Oceanography Division of Oceanology Edgar Pavia recalled that El Niño favors most often above average rainfall (over 250 mm) in northwestern Baja California.
Regarding ENSO meteorologist Higareda Santiago Cervera, head of the Laboratory of Meteorology Physical Oceanography Department, released the update to the November 18 state of “El Niño”.
It established that the conditions of the “strong” El Niño are still present, the positive anomalies of the sea surface temperatures continue in most of the Pacific Ocean, and said there are about 95 percent likelihood of ENSO continue during the winter 2015 -2016 Northern Hemisphere, gradually weakening towards the spring of 2016.
He noted that in preparing the report updated information Climate Prediction Center of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that last October was the warmest of the planet since 1880 began to be continuously record was taken.
According to NOAA, the global average temperature in October reached 15.9 degrees Celsius, which is more than 0.85 degrees in average sea surface temperature recorded in the twentieth century. El Niño influenced prominently in recorded weather conditions, the agency said.
Sunset surfing at Scripps Pier. — Nelvin C. Cepeda / UT San Diego / Twitter @NelCepeda
It’s not just El Niño coming to town.
That was the theme of a public discussion hosted this week by UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, with in-house researchers and guest speakers from organizations such as the National Weather Service.
Scientists have warned that one of the most powerful El Niño systems in recorded history could pummel Southern California well into the spring.
Years of drought and record-high temperatures in the Pacific Ocean could complicate things further, scientists in this region said.
“It’s been a strange two years, a very strange two years,” said Dan Rudnick, an oceanographer at Scripps. “This El Niño is happening on top of the strange stuff we’ve had since 2014.”
If El Niño conditions pull more winter storms down to Southern California than usual — and that has been the historical pattern during years with a strong El Niño — the precipitation will likely move across some of the warmest ocean temperatures on record.
“Those warm waters off the coast can add moisture, can add instability. In other words, give us heavier rainfall rates as they move in,” said Alex Tardy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Rancho Bernardo. “We’ve already seen that a couple of times this year with the rainfall in early November.
“It’s timing, but there’s the potential for increased [coastal] flooding,” he said. A “double whammy,” he added, would occur if flooding from inland watersheds creates flooding, mudslides or other property damage.
In many places, drought conditions may have reduced vegetation and destabilized soils — making mudslides more likely. Scientists caution that repeated storms could swell rivers and small streams to areas that haven’t seen such conditions in decades.
Adding to concerns, warmer weather in the past year has contributed to recent tides well above predicted levels.
“What you see is a tendency for the observed tide to stand above the predicted tide by 8 inches or so,” said Dan Cayan, a climate researcher at Scripps. “That’s not been the case over the last couple of days, but once the atmosphere changes, we’re anticipating with that warmer water that we’ll probably pick up to anomalously higher sea levels.”
If a low-pressure system continues to move toward the region during the next few days, coastal areas could get hit hard by waves over Thanksgiving weekend, Cayan said.
“The largest tides this winter are the ones approaching us in the next week, so that’s an important period for us,” he said. “It turns out there’s a signature of a storm on the horizon.”
With roughly a century of data and just a handful of El Niño events on record, scientists were cautious not to talk in terms of guarantees. Only about half of such weather events have delivered strong precipitation to Southern California. The most powerful El Niño on record came during the winter of 1982-83.
However, given the convergence of unusual conditions this year, everyone in attendance at the Scripps forum Thursday expressed a strong curiosity for what the winter will bring.
“We don’t know what will happen next because it’s been such a strange couple of years, and we’ll see how this one evolves in comparison to past El Niños,” Rudnick said.
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The weekly average equatorial Pacific ocean sea surface temperature was 3 degrees or greater (5.4 degrees F) above normal in the key region from 170 degrees west to 120 degrees west for the first time on record.
Tropical Pacific water temperatures are shockingly hot. Last week equatorial Pacific water temperatures averaged 3 degrees Celsius above normal for the first time ever in the key Niño 3.4 region. The previous weekly high Niño 3.4 value of 2.8 degrees was tied last week with Nov. 28, 1997. The Niño 3.4 region, used to measure the strength of an El Niño ranges from 170W to 120W from 5 degrees north to 5 degrees south of the equator. If temperatures continue to rise, or plateau for a few more weeks, this will be the strongest El Niño in history.
Niño 3.4 region Sea Surface Temperatures averaged 3ºC above normal for the first time ever last week
When warm water stored below the surface of the western Pacific ocean moves east along the equator it moves the earth’s tropical atmospheric convection cells with it. Responding to the eastward shift in the tropical convection, the jet stream moves south on normal on the west coast bringing heavy winter rains to California in strong El Niño years. With this year’s El Niño at record or near record strength NOAA’s CFS climate model predicts a strong southward drop of the storm track off the west coast. A very stormy winter can be expected from California, across the gulf states and up the east coast. This year’s intense jet stream pattern will bring much warmer than normal temperatures to the northeastern United States and eastern Canada.
El Niño will shift the storm track south this winter into California, the gulf states and the southeast. The northeast and eastern Canada will be much warmer than normal, warmed by flow off the north Pacific
This winter, California can expect heavy rains, floods and mudslides, but snow levels (elevation of rain snow line, not amounts) will be high because moisture flows from the tropics in an El Niño winter are warm and wet. California’s water situation will improve but ground water levels are unlikely to rebound to levels seen before the drought began. One year’s rains will not alleviate the long-term water problems caused by the record California drought but reservoir levels will rebound.
Heavy rains are forecast for California and the southeast from January through March 2016 by NOAA’s CFS model.
The extraordinary surge of heat in the equatorial Pacific continues to push from the dateline towards the Americas. Temperatures anomalies are predicted to peak over the next month by a number of climate models, but the effects of the excess oceanic heat will continue to grow in the atmosphere into the winter months. 2015 is already crushing records as the warmest year on record but 2016 may be even warmer because the peak in atmospheric temperatures is months later than the peak in sea surface temperatures.
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