Strong El Nino may be brewing

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    Just seen article in Independent newspaper, starting:

    A new El Niño has begun. The sporadic Pacific Ocean warming, which can disrupt weather patterns across the world, is intensifying, say meteorologists.

    So, over the next few months, there may be increased drought in Africa, India and Australia, heavier rainfall in South America and increased extremes in Britain, of warm and cold. It may make 2010 one of the hottest years on record.

    El Niño is a periodic warming of the normally cold waters of the eastern tropical Pacific, the ocean region westwards out from South America along the line of the equator. Since the Pacific is a heat reservoir which drives wind patterns around the world, the change in its temperature alters global weather. An El Niño is defined by ocean surface temperatures rising by more than 0.5C above the average.

    This El Niño is well beyond that, says the Climate Prediction Center of the US National Weather Service. "Sea surface temperatures remain +0.5 to +1.5 above average across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean," the centre reported last week. "Observations and dynamical model forecasts indicate El Niño conditions will continue to intensify and are expected to last through the northern hemisphere winter of 2009-10."

    The last El Niño was in 2006-07 and, at its peak, sea surface temperatures averaged about 0.9 degrees above normal. But this is a stage which has already been reached by this one.

    From an NOAA press release:

    El Niño includes weaker trade winds, increased rainfall over the central tropical Pacific, and decreased rainfall in Indonesia. These vast rainfall patterns in the tropics are responsible for many of El Niño’s global effects on weather patterns.

    So we may soon see and feel effects here, inc higher temps, more rain (especially next spring/summer?), and fewer tropical cyclones forming in western Pacific.

    – far more importantly, I believe, 2010 global temps may show up the nonsense re global cooling this century by global warming deniers, chiefly in US. Might help lessen resistance to taking action re warming, tho I still think we will do way too little, too late.

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