Breaking: “Godzilla” El Nino May be Forming

August 13, 2015


Scientists following the developing El Nino event in the Pacific see signs that this year may bring the biggest event since the record-breaker of 1997-98.

Los Angeles Times:

The strengthening El Niño in the Pacific Ocean has the potential to become one of the most powerful on record, as warming ocean waters surge toward the Americas, setting up a pattern that could bring once-in-a-generation storms this winter to drought-parched California.

The National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center said Thursday that all computer models are now predicting a strong El Niño to peak in the late fall or early winter. A host of observations have led scientists to conclude that “collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic features reflect a significant and strengthening El Niño.”

“This definitely has the potential of being the Godzilla El Niño,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

This has implications for global temperatures, as El Nino years bring a warm Pacific, and the huge expanse of warm surface water brings higher global surface temperatures generally.  Surface temperature records are generally broken in El Nino years, as this graph shows.


One exception being 2014, which set a new warm temperature record without being an El Nino year.  Scientists warn that 2015 so far has been warmer than 2014, and a developing El Nino may bring record temperatures stretching well into 2016.

The Times again:

Patzert said El Niño’s signal in the ocean “right now is stronger than it was in 1997,” the summer in which the most powerful El Niño on record developed.

“Everything now is going to the right way for El Niño,” Patzert said. “If this lives up to its potential, this thing can bring a lot of floods, mudslides and mayhem.”

After the strongest El Niño on record muscled up through the summer of 1997, the following winter gave Southern California double its annual rainfall and dumped double the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, an essential source of precipitation for the state’s water supply, Patzert said.

12 Responses to “Breaking: “Godzilla” El Nino May be Forming”

  1. jimbills Says:

    CNN’s coverage has an interesting NOAA projection chart compared to past El Niños:

    “The strongest El Niño was the 2.3 event in 1997-98. The current figure for this year’s El Niño is 1.0, but it’s been climbing for four straight months. Almost every forecast predicts that this year’s El Niño will climb above 2.0 — and many are forecasting the strongest El Niño since records began in the 1950s.”

  2. rayduray Says:

    Scientific Feedbacks is something new to me. An attempt by scientists to rate mainstream media’s climate coverage.

    The Guardian has the story:

  3. rayduray Says:

    Skeptical Science reminds us that a strong El Nino event will be associated with massive coral reef bleaching.

  4. redskylite Says:

    Kevin Trenberth has published a new paper recently, “Internal climate variability masks climate-warming trends”, to highlight that the warming climb will not be linear. A lot of the vocal minority seem to think that people are truly dumb and expect a smooth linear trend to take place, using short downward trend periods to illustrate their denial point. How much longer do they think they can get away with it, it is truly pathetic and malicious.

    Just look at the longer term trend it is up up up . . . . . . .

  5. […] sell-by date, as 2014 was the hottest year in the modern record, and is soon to be eclipsed by a burgeoning “godzilla el nino” event in the Pacific.  Scientist John Abraham sends me this graph showing how the first seven […]

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