An August El Niño?

July 29, 2012

PrintPrintEmailEmail
Your rating: None Average: 5 of 5 (5 votes)

Today’s blog will be short and sweet. Do you want cooler temperatures and more rain? It may be coming.

The models at the National Center for Environmental Prediction forecast an El Niño will arrive next month. When one looks at the different agencies around the world, the ones with the models that have been most accurate show an El Niño starting in August.

When the Tropical Pacific heats up and becomes an El Niño, it changes weather around the world. Source: NASA

What does this mean?

Globally, it means that the Tropical Pacific will have a huge area warm up. When the waters are roughly one degree warmer (actually 0.5˚ C for our Canadian readers), they heat the tropical air mass overhead. This changes air pressure and tropical winds. The result changes temperatures and precipitation around the globe.

If an El Niño starts in mid-summer, it typically brings more rain and cooler temperatures to large portions of the nation. Source: US Climate Prediction Center

Here in the US, it typically means normal temperatures east of the Rockies and rain in the central part of the country. Unfortunately, it doesn’t bring much rain to the Southeast in the summer, but it usually means a wet winter.  

El Niños also have the pleasant benefit of reducing the number of Atlantic hurricanes. They create high-level winds that usually sheer off the tops of developing tropical storms. They also tend to steer storms away from the Western Gulf, which is good news for Texas beaches.

Remember, each El Niño has its own weird personality. The cooling of the El Niño will be battling the influence of the hot Atlantic waters off the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.  

Overall, it looks like August may see better weather. That’s short and sweet.

Related Articles


Evelyn Browning Garriss, historical climatologist, blogger, writer for The Old Farmer's Almanac, and editor of The Browning Newsletter, has advised farmers, businesses, and investors worldwide on upcoming climate events and their economic and social impact for the past 21 years.

More Articles:

Comments

Ok I live in south MS just 20

By Leslie Graham

Ok I live in south MS just 20 miles north of Hattiesburg. It's been such a hot and humid summer. What does our Fall and Wunter look like? Just looking for some relief!!!

What can we expect as far as

By Dana Calloway

What can we expect as far as cold weather and snow for the Piedmont of NC ?

I heard many times that after

By lilpots

I heard many times that after we have a double la nina that if we spike into an el nino that the winter will be quite cold in the eastern US. Looking at history when that happens we go to a colder pattern so were going back to the late 1970s. That would be determined by the NAO but even if we do end up with a positive NAO it doesent mean we will have one of the warmest winters on record. Theres been positive NAOs before and none of this has happened. Also el ninos tend to force the jet stream farther south than normal so the south will be cold and wet while ironically the north will be milder and drier. All it takes is a storm system to clash with the cold air and youll get a good winter storm. Think back to 2009-10 when the south was dumped with snow!! That was an el nino winter so we could be looking at another 2009-10. Hoping for a NEGATIVE NAO. I want a winter, not a pathetic winter and I dont want el nino to bring us our warmest winter on record. Will this winter be another 2011-12?

I don't understand the

By BobAnonymous

I don't understand the differences between the two as far as how winters are affected. I think we're just seeing winters that are reliably warmer than the last, due to climate change.

We are absolutely ready for

By Purplenut

We are absolutely ready for fall here in the Cincinnati area! So sick of the heat and humidity. I'm with you, Melissa N.; summer is overrated! Ha. Come on, fall!

Well atleast the east isnt

By Denise Ginther

Well atleast the east isnt seeing any major heat waves for a while. Were comfortably in the 80s all week so this is beautiful. keep the heat away! Do you think August could finally end the 7 month streak of 2012 with record breaking warmth? I would be even happier if the drought decreased :) July was terrible but what happens in July has nothing to do what happens in August

What a terrible summer! I

By Melissa N.

What a terrible summer! I hate this heat. This is dangerous, I feel for those in the heartland with the temps reaching above 110 degrees! In Indiana we have seen this all summer long with very high heat and humidity. Were dieing over here too with the devestating drought. Go away summer. Enough already :( Im ready for fall

I think you speak for almost

By Evelyn Browning...

I think you speak for almost everyone -- we're ready for fall.

Thats right Evelyn! We are

By Melissa N.

Thats right Evelyn! We are all ready for fall... An idea of what to name your next blog, "Ready for sweet 'ol Autumn?" who needs a summer? If this is what a summer is then ill be just fine having a year without a summer. Why cant we have that rather than a winter that wasent?

I live in western Arkansas.

By SSGDenny

I live in western Arkansas. We are having extreme drought conditions in both AR and OK. Will El Nino bring relief?

I'm wondering how it will

By LA Woman

I'm wondering how it will affect Southern California. I hate the heat and welcome the cool weather. Please give me some good news. We really need rain here.

I will blog about El Nino

By Evelyn Browning...

I will blog about El Nino winters next week.

I live just south of Duluth,

By Ann Kolpin

I live just south of Duluth, MN and I am very ready for fall and an extreme winter. We want tons of snow. Love it

If it's up to El Nino, you

By Evelyn Browning...

If it's up to El Nino, you will be disappointed. Hope for a negative NAO.

How will this affect the St.

By gaile

How will this affect the St. Louis arear? We are very hot and dry now, the wildlife must be suffering awfully.

I will blog about El Nino

By Evelyn Browning...

I will blog about El Nino winters next week. One of the reasons we are seeing so much wildlife is that they are coming into towns for water and food.

Im in the midwest of Nebraska

By Laurel

Im in the midwest of Nebraska where we have had record high days of 108 and even that one day of 112. Will we see more moisture and cooler temps for August and an early fall. Praying for moisture and not another dry winter.

Kansas oh my gosh i cant

By goathappymeh

Kansas oh my gosh i cant stand this heat 2yrs in a row now! Will it end?

I wish the heat would end

By Evelyn Browning...

I wish the heat would end soon. (Sigh!) I have to teach a seminar at Kansas State next week.

We are in neutral conditions

By Helen Davenport

We are in neutral conditions but why are we in such bad shape? Its been a crazy hot summer in the southeast and even after those tropical storms that brought rain earlier in the season was only temporary because its going dry here too. If el nino is coming this mounth, then why is NOAA not showing anything about it and how it hasent impacted their forecasts?

I am reporting the latest

By Evelyn Browning...

I am reporting the latest data from the US Climate Prediction Center at http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/lanina/enso_evolution-status-fcsts-web.pdf .
Check slides 26, 27 and 28 -- they indicate a probable El Nino in August. The models on 26 are a collection of findings from all over the world and the last two are collected results from US models.

I'm disappointed. I was so

By Jillian B.

I'm disappointed. I was so looking forward to a nice, frosty textbook autumn after this miserably hot summer, but all the weather services are saying is more heat and more drought until after Halloween at least. So much for the best part of the year! Hope they are all wrong. :(

What kind of winter do you

By Trena Lee

What kind of winter do you think the Ohio Valley will have? I hope wet but you never can tell.

I will show everyone in the

By Evelyn Browning...

I will show everyone in the next blog.

How does El Nino affect the

By JCT

How does El Nino affect the northeast (Massachusetts). Will we see anything freeze? Snow?

Thanks, Janice

Normally it is a double-dip

By Evelyn Browning...

Normally it is a double-dip winter -- cool in the beginning and end and warmer in the middle. Overall that gives you a warmer overall season. Sometimes late winter or early spring has Nor'easters but those will be shaped by the NAO.

After the hot 1988 summer,

By Herdswoman

After the hot 1988 summer, what kind of winter followed - I've forgotten. Will this winter be close to that one?

The hot summer of 1988 was La

By Evelyn Browning...

The hot summer of 1988 was La Nina, like last year's La Nina. They produce different winters.

We get this type of drought when an El Nino and a La Nina are so close together that the dry areas from one don't have time to recover before the other one hits. In 1988, a La Nina hit two months after an El Nino ended. This year an El Nino is hitting 5 months after a La Nina. Usually there is a year between the events.

Based on the maps posted

By INfarmgirl

Based on the maps posted above, it appears that NOAA's prediction of continued heat & drought here in IN will continue through early fall. The drought here has deepened since mid-spring, to the detriment of crops, trees, gardens, etc., etc. Would love to look forward to relief.

Even when there is good rain,

By Evelyn Browning...

Even when there is good rain, an area remains in drought until it catches up from the two years of dry weather. A lot of areas will get rain but remain officially in drought for months until they fully recover.

If el nino brings warm

By Regina Smith

If el nino brings warm winters, then would it be to the extreme as last winter? Last winter was shaped by a very very rare NAO. It was odd because I was enjoying warm winter days but it was wayyy above average. Is it likely these type of conditions will happen again this year or are the chances very slim?

I doubt if it will as extreme

By Evelyn Browning...

I doubt if it will as extreme as last winter, which was the fourth warmest and third driest on record, but El Nino winters are usually warm. The NAO and Arctic Oscillation are the most important winter patterns so let's hope they tend to be positive or neutral.

As for someone that has

By Winona Farms

As for someone that has suffered the cold, wet effects of La Nina over the past two years in the cool damp NW, I can't be happier for an El Nino. Bring me some warm sunny fall days into November. Just maybe, I might even get some bell peppers to ripen up!

How is August and September

By neicy63

How is August and September looking for the mid atlantic? We set our 6th hottest July on record. Our average mean was 7 degrees above normal. Were really starting to dry up and my grass is now starting to turn brown. Were on our way to be in drought if things dont turn around. As el nino deepens will rain and cooler temps come this fall?

Normally it does bring rains

By Evelyn Browning...

Normally it does bring rains in autumn.

It will be interesting to see

By jeltez42

It will be interesting to see what El Nino brings this year. From looking at NOAA's seasonal forecasts, it won't be anything good for the northern tier of states. We don't need above normal temps and below normal precip. All we can hope for is that these forecasts are wrong, at least for the northern half of the country.

The El Nino would normally

By Evelyn Browning...

The El Nino would normally bring a warm winter for the North, which would be pleasant.

so, does this mean in canada

By michelletolisano

so, does this mean in canada (Toronto) we will get a warmer winter this year? boy, i hope so

What about south texas and

By Gracy

What about south texas and northern mexico? We have extreme heat until october.

Unless you consider that this

By Frunobulax

Unless you consider that this would be the second mild winter in a row. The one from last year drastically reduced the snow pack in the Rocky Mountains and that is currently contributing to the record low water levels along the Mississippi-Missouri-Ohio River system, along with the drought.

and fall cant be too far

By Betty G.

and fall cant be too far behind. August is the last full month of summer and by this time next month we can finally kiss the summers extreme heat and drought goodbye! Then we can sit back and watch summer slip into a nice colorful autumn. Thats a wonderful way of looking at it, who knows.. maybe the worst is over for us! July was a scorcher but hey, normal temperatures are now going down with each passing day and will go down even quicker in the next few weeks. This, like everything will come to pass and rain will surely make its return across the nation. After all, dog days end in about 2 weeks so light is indeed at the end of the tunnel!

I don't know about it getting

By Michelle Marion

I don't know about it getting cooler yet, here in Utah, we are still up for more 100 degree days, yuck. All I can say is Fall is right around the corner and hoping for a wet cooler winter and fall- cooler temps. These hot days are too much.

Hear, hear, Betty! And amen

By Jillian B.

Hear, hear, Betty! And amen to that. Bring on the perfection that is autumn. Can't wait!

Post new comment

Before posting, please review all comments. Due to the volume of questions, Almanac editors can respond only occasionally, as time allows. We also welcome tips from our wonderful Almanac community!

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <img>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Links to specified hosts will have a rel="nofollow" added to them.

More information about formatting options

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.