NASA satellite data indicates El Niño has returned to the tropical Pacific Ocean, although in a relatively weak condition that may not persist and is currently much less intense than the last major El Niño episode in 1997-1998.
Over the past several weeks, NASA's Aqua and Jason satellites have observed a general warming of ocean temperatures and a rise in sea surface heights in the central and eastern Pacific along the equator, both indicators of El Niño development.
"The present conditions indicate that the intensity of this El Niño is too weak to have a major influence on current weather patterns," said Bill Patzert, oceanographer and climatologist at the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "But, if the ocean waters continue to warm and spread eastward, this event . . . (continue article)