An August El Niño?

October 13, 2016
Rain Over Ocean

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.

About This Blog

The column, “Weather Whispers,” is authored by James Garriss and Evelyn Browning Garriss, historical climatologists and weather addicts!  Whether you enjoy the science of weather or the fascinating folklore or just fun weather phenomena, it’s probably covered by these weather watchers!