El Nino getting stronger, AZ winter forecast uncertain - Tucson News Now

El Nino getting stronger, AZ winter forecast uncertain

By Erin Jordan - email

TUCSON, AZ (KOLD) - The latest El Nino update says El Nino strengthened during October and sea surface temperatures (SST) will likely continue rising during the winter.  

The update came out this morning from the Climate Prediction Center.  

El Nino Anomolies


The graphic above shows how far the current SST is from the average SST temperatures.  

You can see warmest pools of water in orange, which pretty much dominates the equatorial Pacific right towards western Mexico.  

The warmer SST is one reason the east Pacific has had an active hurricane season.

Unfortunately, southern Arizona has not tapped into much of that tropical moisture. 

 El Nino Models 

The above graphic is of the El Nino prediction from various climate models.  

The general agreement is that El Nino SST will peak at moderate strength sometime between now and January then begin weakening.

However, you can see that all the colored lines of the different models are not extremely close together.  

This means there is a high variability in the forecast and that El Nino is not easily predicted this year.  

Generally during an El Nino year, Arizona is cooler and wetter.  

The Climate Prediction Center's 3 Month Outlook for November, December, and January reflects the uncertainty in the El Nino forecast.  

The image below is of the temperature forecast.  

The orange colors indicate above average temperatures.

This includes Arizona.  

The image below is the precipitation forecast.

The green areas indicated above average rain and snowfall.  

Southeast Arizona is left out of the Climate Prediction Center's above average rain forecast, which is mostly limited to California during this El Nino winter.

The white area means there is a 50/50 chance of above average or below average rain and snowfall.  


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