Eye-roller: “A shift away from this year’s La Niña to El Niño could dramatically alter temperature and extreme weather patterns—and global warming may play a role.”
Changes are brewing in the equatorial Pacific, and they could profoundly affect weather across the U.S. and much of the globe next winter and spring.
La Niña, which has held sway since last fall, will be officially declared a goner Thursday, an official at the Climate Prediction Center in Maryland told InsideClimate News. And while nobody is quite certain what will happen next, some long-range forecast models are pointing to the possible emergence of the opposite phenomenon: El Niño.
Climate scientists are still trying to determine what role climate change plays in the La Niña/El Niño cycle. One study by scientists with NASA and the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle suggests global warming may already be affecting the intensity and impacts of El Niño.
Regardless of climate change’s role, a shift away from this year’s La Niña could dramatically alter temperature, precipitation and extreme weather patterns.