Posted at 7:57 AM on June 9, 2009
by Paul Huttner
Pacific Sea Surface Temperatures (SST's) show rapid warming in the tropical Pacific Ocean.
For the first time ever, the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued an El Nino Watch. CPC's new advisory system is designed to give states and communities advance warning months in advance for seasonal weather changes and potential effects.
Tropical Pacific SST's have warmed to about 0.5 degrees above average. El Nino is defined when Pacific SST's remain at or above the +0.5 degree threshold for 3 consecutive months and 5 overlapping seasons. Various CPC computer models indicate Pacific SST's could warm to 1 to 2 degrees above average by next January. This would make for a moderately strong El Nino event.
In Minnesota and the Upper Midwest, El Nino events bring milder than average winter temperatures about 70% of the time statistically. There is also a trend for lighter than average winter snowfall.
Other U.S. effects include wetter than average winters in the southern states. States from California through the Desert Southwest and along the Gulf Coast to Florida tend wetter during El Nino events. This can be a good thing for areas that depend on snow and rainfall runoff in the mountain ranges feeding the Colorado River. Cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, and San Diego rely on water from the Colorado.
The last El Nino event occurred during the winter of 2006-07. During that time, Tropical Pacific SST's peaked at 1.1 degrees Celsius above average. We had a mild winter in Minnesota. Here are the monthly temperature anomalies in the Twin Cities for that winter season.
November: +3.7 degrees
December: +9.6 degrees
January: +6.1 degrees
February: -4.2 degrees
March: +8.0 degrees
Of course there is no guarantee that temperatures will be that mild if El Nino occurs this winter. But it's nice to dream!
Posted at 3:08 PM on June 9, 2009
by Paul Huttner
Congratulations. You just survived the coolest 3 consecutive June days in 58 years.
Early June can be a tough time in Minnesota. Winter was too long. Spring was great. Now we want, no we demand summer! Well there's good news coming from the Huttner Weather Lab today. Summery weather is on the way.
I took a little bike ride today around the weather lab. You can feel the warmth of the June sun even through the overcast. The garden is responding to the weekend rain and the slightly warmer air today. Kids are playing at the park after the last day of school.
The weather maps show a nice, gradual warming trend this week. You'll notice more sun and warmer temperatures each day as we head into the weekend. By Sunday it appears we'll be pushing 80 in the metro. That's where we should be this time of year.
There is a promise of more rain toward the middle of next week. Then, according to at least one forecast model, summertime heat will build into the central U.S. as we head into and beyond Father's Day weekend. It won't be long before some will be longing for cool cloudy days in the 60's like today.
It's not scientific but I am struck by a few thoughts on my outdoor weather sample today.
Early June holds the promise of summer in these parts. We'll get some of the best weather on the planet in the next 3 months. Calm sunny days in the 80's, sweltering humid days in the 90's, violent but amazing storms with spectacular lightning shows; Minnesota has it all.
Enjoy summer this year!