BIG COUNTRY, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – In the latest climate news, a transition from ENSO-neutral is expected in the next couple of months, with a greater than 90% chance of El Niño persisting into the Northern Hemisphere winter.
ENSO is the El Niño Southern Oscillation which is a recurring climate pattern involving changes in the temperature of waters in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Neutral is the state the oscillation is currently in.
As of Tuesday, sea surface temperatures (SST) are currently around average temperatures. There is a high chance that a warming in the ocean’s surface will occur (El Nino) over the next few months.
The ENSO cycle directly affects rainfall distribution in the tropics and has a strong impact on weather conditions for the US. Below is a graphic explaining the difference between La Niño and El Niño and how it affects the US:
During La Niña, trade winds become even stronger and pushes the warmer water towards Asia, and cooler water to the US. The cold water pushes the Pacific Jet Stream to the north with wetter conditions, and tends to lead to droughts in the south.
During El Niño, the warmer waters cause the Pacific Jet Stream to move south of its neutral position. With this shift, areas in the northern US are dryer and warmer than usual.
For us here in the Big Country and across the south, these periods are wetter than usual and have increased flooding potential.
That is a good sign to see, given our severe drought conditions. We can expect wetter conditions later this year getting into the fall and winter months.
The summer seems a bit uncertain as fair as wet or dry conditions go. According to the 3-month precipitation outlook from the Climate Prediction Center, we are in a zone for equal chances for dry and wet conditions. That can be seen in the graphic below:
Over the next few months, areas in western parts of the Big Country could expect slightly below normal conditions while most of the area could see equal chances for above or below conditions.
BCH meteorologists will continue to monitor anything regarding Big Country weather, giving updates along the way.