La Nina Most Likely on the Way,
by Bill Rudolph
The latest El Nino/Southern Oscillation Advisory issued by NOAA's Climate Prediction Center says that oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the tropical Pacific are consistent with a developing "cold episode." By mid-May, sub-surface ocean temperatures ranged from 2 degrees F. to 8 degrees F. below normal.
The developing cold period that forecasters expect over the next few months caught them by surprise after the ocean began cooling rapidly in late March. Near normal conditions through September had been expected before the cooling began.
Science magazine reported that in early May, 16 different forecast models were sending mixed signals; six had called for neutral conditions over the next six months, four had predicted another El Nino, and five had pointed to a La Nina.
Now the Climate Prediction Center says there is a 70 percent chance of a la Nina event. A La Nina likely means mean more hurricanes in the tropical Atlantic by summer, but a cooler, wetter Northwest winter, a colder Alaska, and a drier, warmer-than-average winter in the southern US
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