Are we getting a Super El Niño? The Waves of Uncertainty

Are we getting a Super El Niño? The Waves of Uncertainty

This year has been an insane year for weather, specifically here on the West Coast. San Diego has seen more rain than it has in years, and the mountains are seeing enough snow to keep Tahoe and Mammoth open until July! Now, experts and climate models are saying we need to brace for a Super El Niño. Seems about right...but what does it mean?

So a standard El Niño is a climate pattern that occurs in the tropical Pacific Ocean and is described as having warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures. This can cause changes in atmospheric circulation and weather patterns around the globe. Typically, El Niño events occur every 2 to 7 years and can last for several months to over a year. That's just a typical El Niño.

A Super El Niño, on the other hand, is a particularly strong and long-lasting El Niño event. It is characterized by even warmer sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific than a typical El Niño event.

The inner child in me is psyched because I'm picturing surfing in our wetsuit-lined boardies earlier in the Spring and long into the Fall months. Not much is better than warm water surfing, with decent waves.

But, in terms of impacts, a Super El Niño can affect the climate and weather patterns in different parts of the world negatively. In Southern California and other parts of the United States touching the Pacific Ocean, El Niño events can bring warmer and wetter weather than normal, leading to increased risk of flooding (which we've already seen), landslides, and more erosion.

During El Niño events, warmer waters can also attract different species of fish and marine life, which can affect fishing and other ocean-based industries, throwing off the ecosystem. It can really affect the overall health of marine ecosystems in the region and can potentially have a long-lasting impression.

It's worth noting that while El Niño and Super El Niño events can have significant impacts on weather patterns and ocean conditions, the precise impacts can vary from event to event, and it can be difficult to predict exactly how they will play out. So, while they tend to be wetter-than-normal conditions, it can also bring about warm winds and a drought in areas like San Diego, which can lead to more wildfires - a problem that has been consistently growing in the past couple of years.

While we can look to the positives of warmer waters, longer sessions in Drifties, and extended summer weather, it's important to stay informed on conditions. We took a vow as part of 1% for the Planet to help preserve our ocean, and part of that effort is doing our research.

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