Tuesday, October 17, 2006

NASA Data Captures El Niño's Return In The Pacific

The Cycle's Back!!!!!!!!

Sorta like a drunk uncle that slips back for the holidays to start trouble, our little friend El Niño looks to be hitting the spiked egg nog just in time for the holidays.

Many recognize the name El Niño just enough to know that weathermen and farmers dread it. But, what really is El Niño and why should you care? Well, NASA is on it for you. Indications are that this cycle is less intense than the last one in 1997-98. However, like that drunken Uncle, don't turn you back on it because that doesn't mean it's not going away anytime soon.

Here's what NASA has to say about the system so far:

  • 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 would likely strengthen, perhaps bringing much-needed rainfall to the southwestern and southeastern United States this winter."

Read more about El Niño from NASA.

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