NOAA declares end to weak, short-lived La Niña

Stick a fork in it — La Niña is done.

Neutral conditions have returned to the tropical Pacific, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday, and chances are increasing that El Niño will return by fall.

Water temperatures off the coast of South America have already heated up, triggering excess rainfall in Peru. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology predicts El Niño could be in place even earlier — possibly by summer.

enso-forecastsIn fact, Peru has already declared a “coastal El Niño” based on water temperature anomalies just off-shore.

“This La Niña wasn’t exactly one for the record books,” said Emily Becker, who writes a blog about the Pacific water temperature phenomenon for NOAA. “Our primary index, the three-month-average sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific Niño 3.4 region, only dipped to about 0.8° degrees cooler than the long-term average during the fall of 2016.”

The La Niña threshold is -0.5 degrees C, so this winter’s event barely qualified as a La Niña.

Florida and other areas of the southern U.S. reacted appropriately, though, with warmer than normal temperatures this winter and dry conditions.

IMAGE: A mean forecast ensemble, shown by the black dotted line, is calling for a weak El Niño to develop by spring. Lines representing other models show the spread of uncertainty. (Credit: NOAA/ CPC)


FLORIDA FORECAST: A near-perfect weather weekend is coming up with dry conditions and temperatures at or slightly above normal, according to the National Weather Service. After Thursday night’s cold front, highs in South Florida should be back up to near 80 by mid-week. Upper 70s in coastal areas this weekend should make for some pretty good beach weather. (Credit: NWS-Key West)


MOON SHADOW: Check out Friday’s “Full Snow Moon,” which will feature a Penumbral Lunar Eclipse that begins at 5:30 EST and ends at around 10 p.m.

Viewing conditions should be close to ideal, with partly cloudy skies and temperatures falling into the upper 60s in South Florida by evening.

Also, a comet named 45P which will come within 7.4 million miles of Earth and will be visible at 3 a.m. Saturday morning. You should be able to see it with the naked eye, but a pair of binoculars would be helpful.


Author: jnelander

Freelance writer and editor

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