"Super El Nino" possible this fall and winter - FOX 32 News Chicago

"Super El Nino" possible this fall and winter

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

We are coming out of the coldest December to March period in recorded Chicago history. After several bouts with the “Polar Vortex” and more than 82” of snow many of us are wishing for some heat. Now Mother Nature is ready to grant those wishes with what could be a “Super El Nino” next fall and winter.

Researchers are watching the signs of what may possibly be the most powerful El Niño event since 1997/98. Better known in scientific circles as El Nino Southern Oscillation El Nino is a warming of eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean temperatures along central and South America. This in turn creates a heating of the atmosphere and a change in surface pressures with the upper atmospheric jet stream over the Pacific Ocean being forced farther south.

In laymen’s terms El Nino typically causes a stormy, wetter than normal pattern on the California coast, through the southwest, the Gulf States and the southeast. It also leads to a cooler than normal pattern across southeastern U.S. To the north El Nino creates a milder and drier than average pattern across the Pacific Northwest, northern Plains, Midwest, and the Ohio Valley. In the southern hemisphere Australia usually experiences drought, extreme heat and bush fires.

Here in Chicago we usually see above average temperatures and below average snowfall. That does not mean we are free of snow storms. In fact we could see the majority of our 2014-2015 snow in two or three key storms.

1997-1998 is considered the benchmark for strong El Nino’s of the past 60 years and 1998 is also one of the Earth’s hottest years of the past century.

At this point scientists say there is a more than 70% probability of strong and possibly super El Niño developing by the fall. Other notable moderate to strong El Nino years have been; 1951, 1957, 1963, 1965, 1968, 1986, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2002, 2009.

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