El Niño conditions could return to the Pacific by summer, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology says, a development that would likely have a major impact on the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season.
“Half the models surveyed suggest strong warming may occur during autumn, with five reaching El Niño thresholds by mid to late winter,” meteorologists said in their most recent analysis. “It must be noted that this outlook straddles the autumn predictability barrier—typically the ENSO transition period—during which most models have their lowest forecast accuracy.”
Autumn in Australia equals spring in the Northern Hemisphere and mid- to late-winter equates to our summer.
While a return to El Niño after the strong one in 2015 would be highly unusual in a historic context, it would not be a complete surprise, hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach said in his December outlook for 2017.
According to Klotzbach, there have been 20 moderate to strong El Niño events during the August-October time period since 1871. “Of these 20 events, only 1 had a return to El Niño conditions two years later,” he said.
The European forecast model has been the most aggressive in its El Niño prediction, and Klotzbach noted: “The ECMWF model has been shown to be one of the most skillful models at predicting future ENSO conditions.”
El Niño disrupts tropical storm formation in the tropical Atlantic by increasing wind shear. In combination with lower water temperatures, El Niño hurricane seasons can result in as few as five to seven named Atlantic storms, according to Klotzbach.
At Weather Underground, Bob Henson says the weak La Niña now in place “appears to be on its last legs.
“The cooling of the tropical equatorial Pacific has weakened and retreated to the Central Pacific, while unusually warm SSTs and sultry air invade the coast of Peru and Ecuador, producing conditions more akin to El Niño than La Niña.”
Image: Satellite analysis shows water is already warming off South America’s West Coast. (Credit: NOAA/ NESDIS)
Smog hangs over Mexico City in this 2016 photo. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
NO POLLUTION SOLUTION: Air pollution in Mexico City is the worst in the Western Hemisphere, and a program put in place by the government to restrict driving has had almost no impact, new research concludes.
Living in the city is like smoking two packs of cigarettes a day and was so bad that at one point birds were falling out of the sky, according to the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Officials had hoped that restricting driving on Saturday would cut vehicle emissions by 15 percent, but taxi services and the increasing availability of Uber have wiped out any potential benefit.
Also, since the driving restrictions are based on license numbers, people have simply purchased multiple cars so they can easily get around the ban.
The only solution is stricter vehicle emissions testing, says Lucas Davis, an associate professor at Berkeley.
“Saturday driving restrictions are a flawed policy,” he said. “It’s a big hassle for people and does not improve air quality.”