All of last winter in discussions regarding the, then, upcoming El Nino I kept arguing that regardless of comparisons to the equatorial temperatures of 1997-98, we cannot really predict what El Nino will do this time around because we are not taking into account the extraordinarily warm waters in the North Pacific. I was not claiming that El Nino would be a bust, merely that we could not be sure that it would produce anything like previous weather patterns.
Of course it has produced weather patterns extremely at odds with typical El Nino years. The Pacific Northwest, which is normally left dryer than normal by El Nino, has been inundated and the Southwest has seen a continuation of drought, with rainfall not even reaching normal amounts, let alone the torrents predicted by El Nino addicts.
Now we hear from NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) that the cause of the disruption of usual El Nino patterns seems to have been caused by warmer than normal water temperatures in the North Atlantic and a resulting persistent high pressure ridge off the northern California coast.
I’m not going to say that, “I told you so.” Except that I think I just did.