Thirsty Californians are pinning their hopes that worried farmers in Australia are right. After months of the Polar Vortex dumping snow on the US east coast and drought on the west coast (and crushing the American Dream of an ‘escape velocity’ economy), The US Climate Prediction Center issued an El Nino watch bring hope of a big rain year for California, floods in South America, and dismal droughts in Southeast Asia. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said an El Nino could occur during the southern hemisphere winter from May-July. Increased sea surface temperatures suggest an increasing chance of the global weather phenomenon and the great rotation from a Polar Vortex to a Solar Vortex.
Climate models show an increased chance of a 2014 El Nino weather event, said Australia’s bureau of meteorology, leading to possible droughts in Southeast Asia and Australia and floods in South America, which could hit key rice, wheat and sugar crops.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said an El Nino could occur during the southern hemisphere winter, May-July, with Australian cattle and grain farmers already struggling with drought which has cut production.
The last El Nino in 2009/10 was categorised weak to moderate. The most severe El Nino was in 1998 when freak weather killed more than 2,000 people and caused billions of dollars in damage to crops, infrastructure and mines in Australia and other parts of Asia.
“The latest climate model survey by the shows that the tropical Pacific is very likely to warm in the coming months, with most models showing sea surface temperatures reaching El Nino thresholds during the southern hemisphere winter,” the BOM said in an emailed statement.
The U.S. Climate Prediction Center issued an El Niño watch this month, citing a 52 percent chance of Pacific Ocean waters warming and creating – possibly – a wetter-than-average winter.
Historically, El Niño conditions have been associated with the state’s biggest rain years, including the winters of 1997-98 and 1982-83, which brought fatal mudslides to the Santa Cruz Mountains and devastating surf to the Southern California coast. In 1997-98, San Francisco was pounded by a record 47.2 inches of rain.
Typically, El Niño brings drier weather to the western Pacific, in places such as Australia and Indonesia, and wetter weather to the Americas, he said.
The effects vary considerably with the strength of El Niño – and can differ from place to place.
For example, weak to moderate El Niño conditions have brought more rain to Southern California, while doing little for the northern part of the state. But a strong El Niño historically has increased rainfall across the entire state.
“If that gets locked in place, it can lead to storm after storm after storm,” said John Monteverdi, a meteorology professor at San Francisco State University.
India’s weather office is snarling at these forecasters and accusing them of conspiring to rattle the country’s commodities and stock markets.
We are sure this will provide global meteorolgists and economists plenty of ammo for their hockey-stick recoveries to miss expectations…