El Niño is a climate concept that occurs when the tropical Pacific Ocean waters become warmer than average. It has been known to play a part in producing extreme weather events across the US, while also altering our climate to some degree.
I know all of this weather and climate mumbo-jumbo can get confusing, but don’t worry. Climate.gov has produced a great piece on this upcoming El Niño season on their blog. It has all the information you need to know regarding this event. The following was taken from the article:
“By this point, most of you have heard that it looks like El Niño is coming, and maybe you’re wondering why you should care. After all, why should it matter if the tropical Pacific Ocean becomes warmer than average? That’s thousands of miles away from the continental United States. Well, it turns out that El Niño often results in changes in the patterns of precipitation and temperature across many parts of the globe, including North America (Ropelewski and Halpert 1987, Halpert and Ropelewski 1992).
Many folks probably remember the heavy rainfall, flooding, and landslides that occurred in California in 1982/83 and again in 1997/98. As the region suffers through a devastating drought, it could be something of a relief if we knew for certain that El Niño would bring similar soaking rains. But those two events were the 2 strongest El Niños in the past 60 years, and we’ve seen many other El Niño years where California didn’t experience those types of devastating impacts. So assuming El Niño develops, what can we expect across the United States and when can we expect it?
By examining seasonal climate conditions in previous El Niño years, scientists have identified a set of typical impacts associated with the phenomenon (Figure 1). “Associated with” doesn’t mean that all of these impacts happen during every El Niño episode. However, they happen more often during El Niño than you’d expect by chance, and many of them have occurred during many El Niño events.”
Be sure to check out the rest of this fantastic publication, as it breaks down different regions across the USA, laying out the expected impacts that El Niño will have as it evolves later this year.