Article extracted from the International Research Institute for Climate and Society
October Climate Briefing: El Niño Flexes Its Strength
Tony Barnston provides an overview of the briefing
The El Niño that officially began last March and became a “strong” event in July continues to strengthen, with the event expected to peak in the next few months. Even with the weakening projected by models in early 2016, most models show an event still above the +1.5ºC “strong” El Niño threshold for the January-March season. The probability that El Niño will continue, at least at a weak level, remains around 100% through early 2016 — in line with what has been forecasted by IRI and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center the last several months.
Barnston says recent westerly wind anomalies in the western Pacific, and the Kelvin waves associated with them, continue to strengthen the El Niño and make it competitive to reach the strength of the 1982-83 and 1997-98 events, which are the strongest two events since 1950. While it may still fall short of the 97-98 event, it will be a very strong event nonetheless. Impacts are expected globally, especially in the tropics, and have already begun in some areas (see seasonal forecasts below).
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