‘Hot’ ocean temps could mean most powerful El Niño, scientists say
LOS ANGELES – A key location of the Pacific Ocean is now hotter than recorded in at least 25 years, surpassing the temperatures during the record 1997 El Niño.
Some scientists say their measurements show that this year’s El Niño could be among the most powerful on record — and even toppling the 1997 event from its pedestal, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“This thing is still growing and it’s definitely warmer than it was in 1997,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. As far as the temperature readings go, “it’s now bypassed the previous champ of the modern satellite era — the 1997 El Niño has just been toppled by 2015.”
Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at Stanford University, called the temperature reading significant. It is the highest such weekly temperature above the average in 25 years of modern record keeping in this key region of the Pacific Ocean west of Peru.
“This is a very impressive number,” Swain said, adding that data suggest that this El Niño is still warming up. “It does look like it’s possible that there’s still additional warming” to come.
“We’re definitely in the top tier of El Niño events,” Swain said.