El Niño is here, kind of…

By March 6, 2015LG News
Globe

The Official Report via. NOAA

“El Niño has arrived! The NWS Climate Prediction Center issued an El Niño Advisory today, noting El Niño conditions were observed during February. Forecasters say it is a weak El Niño and predict it will stay weak at least through spring. Due to its weak strength it will have little influence on weather and climate in the United States. It is likely too late and too weak to provide much relief for drought-stricken California.”

What is El Niño?

El Niño is an ocean-atmospheric phenomenon marked by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator, which occur on average every 2-7 years and last about 9-18 months. The presence of El Niño can significantly influence global weather, climate and ocean conditions, as well as marine fisheries.

The official definition of “El Nino” conditions, per the NOAA Climate Prediction Center, is when “A one-month positive sea surface temperature anomaly of 0.5C or greater is observed in the Nino-3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific Ocean (5N-5S, 120W-170W) and an expectation that the 3-month Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) threshold will be met.“ In addition, the official definition also states that, “An atmospheric response typically associated with El Nino is observed over the equatorial Pacific Ocean.”

Sea surface temperature departures from average (based on 1981-2010) at the end of February 2015. NOAA map by Emily Becker, Climate Prediction Center.

Sea surface temperature departures from average (based on 1981-2010) at the end of February 2015. NOAA map by Emily Becker, Climate Prediction Center.

What does that mean? And what can we expect to see at LA County Beaches?

According to Surfline.com,

“A repeat of the epic 1982-83, (picture below) 1997-98, or even the more recent, moderate strength 2009-10 El Niño years appears unlikely at this time. Instead, the CPC is predicting a 50-60% chance that El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2015, and is expected to be a weak event.”

The Venice Restrooms and LA County Lifeguard Division building during the historic El Niño storms of 1983.

The Venice Restrooms and LA County Lifeguard Division building during the historic El Niño storms of 1983.

In short, you can expect slightly warmer than average water temperatures at LA County Beaches for the coming months and possibly into the summer.
While enjoying the favorable beach conditions be sure to;
• Swim near an open lifeguard tower
• Swim and Surf within your ability
• Check-in with a lifeguard before entering the water
Official Press-Release from NOAA: “NOAA: ELUSIVE EL Niño Arrives”
Official NOAA Forecast: Here
Note: Information from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center and Surfline.com was used for this post. Read the official El Nino advisory statement from CPC here. and full article from Surfline Here.