Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

El Nino Returns, Could Upset Nation's Weather

Date:
August 11, 1997
Source:
Purdue University
Summary:
The weather pattern known as El Nino is re-emerging in the Pacific Ocean, and that could bring a change in weather for next winter, and perhaps for the next few years. The near record-setting cold seen in parts of the Midwest off and on for the past few years could be replaced by unseasonable warmth.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The weather pattern known as El Nino is re-emerging in the Pacific Ocean, and that could bring a change in weather for next winter, and perhaps for the next few years. The near record-setting cold seen in parts of the Midwest off and on for the past few years could be replaced by unseasonable warmth.

Related Articles


Ken Scheeringa, acting state climatologist for Indiana, stationed at Purdue University, says that the last major El Nino 15 years ago caused memorable changes in our weather.

Early predictions by the National Weather Service say that this El Nino is even more severe than the 1982-83 episode.

"It appears that El Nino is roaring back, and this one is showing signs it could become more intense than the one in 1982-83," he says. "That year parts of the central United States had a Christmas day in the 60-degree range."

The effects of El Nino are always the most apparent near Christmas, and the name "El Nino" refers to the Christ child.

"What we're in now is the opposite of an El Nino," Scheeringa says. "In the Midwest we're feeling the influences of a weather pattern known as 'La Nina.' With this the ocean surface temperatures are cold, and since the end of last year and the beginning of this year we have been in a predominately cool weather pattern. That's why parts of the country have seen such cool temperatures this past winter and into the spring. That appears to be changing, perhaps in a very intense way."

According to Scheeringa, the El Nino weather pattern could bring unusually warm and dry weather to the Midwest, especially in the winter months.

El Nino weather patterns occur every few years, most recently during the winters of 1994-95 and 1987-88. The last major El Nino occurred during the winter of 1982-83. That winter, storms caused damage in California and the Gulf States resulting in an estimated 100 deaths and more than $2 billion damage.

Dayton Vincent, professor of atmospheric sciences at Purdue, says there is some disagreement among researchers about what causes El Nino, but there some characteristics that all weather scientists agree on.

Vincent says two events happen nearly simultaneously to create the weather pattern known as El Nino. "Water over the eastern Pacific, especially just south of the equator, becomes much warmer than normal during December and January," he says. "The second occurrence is that low-level winds from the region stretching from the western Pacific to east of the International Dateline become more westerly or, at least, less easterly than normal. This actually causes upwelling in the ocean circulation, and warmer waters come to the surface over the central Pacific to join those already over the eastern Pacific."

According to Vincent, wind changes in the lower atmosphere and in the Pacific Ocean cause a change in upper atmospheric circulation patterns. It's this upper atmospheric weather pattern, near jet stream levels, that ultimately influences weather in the United States, he says.

"It's well established that the southeastern part of the United States will see more cyclonic activity, and the northern Great Plains and south-central Canada will have more high pressure, so there are fewer storms and less rainfall," Vincent says. "In the Midwest, we lie in a zone that makes it difficult to tell if El Nino affects our weather. This spring we've had a lot of storms to the south while northern Minnesota and northern Michigan had better than normal weather. This could well be associated with the beginning El Nino conditions."

CONTACTS: Scheeringa, (765) 494-8105; e-mail, kenneth.l.scheeringa.1@purdue.edu; Vincent, (765) 494-3290; e-mail, dvincent@meteor.atms.purdue.edu

Compiled by Chris Sigurdson, (765) 494-8415; home (765) 497- 2433; e-mail, sig@ecn.purdue.edu


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Purdue University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Purdue University. "El Nino Returns, Could Upset Nation's Weather." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 1997. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970811004307.htm>.
Purdue University. (1997, August 11). El Nino Returns, Could Upset Nation's Weather. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970811004307.htm
Purdue University. "El Nino Returns, Could Upset Nation's Weather." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1997/08/970811004307.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

How A Chorus Led Scientists To A New Frog Species

Newsy (Oct. 30, 2014) — A frog noticed by a conservationist on New York's Staten Island has been confirmed as a new species after extensive study and genetic testing. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

Raw: Hawaii Lava Approaching Village Road

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) — The lava flow on the Big Island of Hawaii was 225 yards from Pahoa Village Road on Wednesday night. The lava is slowing down but still approaching the village. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

Endangered Carpathian Ponies Are Making a Comeback in Poland

AFP (Oct. 29, 2014) — At the foot of the rugged Carpathian mountains near the Polish-Ukrainian border, ranchers and scientists are trying to protect the Carpathian pony, known as the Hucul in Polish. Duration: 02:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

Deadly Mudslide in Sri Lanka Buries Houses

AP (Oct. 29, 2014) — A mudslide triggered by monsoon rains buried scores of workers' houses at a tea plantation in central Sri Lanka on Wednesday, killing at least 10 people and leaving more than 250 missing, an official said. (Oct. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins