‘Hot’ ocean temps could mean most powerful El Niño, scientists say

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A satellite image shows the sea surface temperature in October, with the orange-red colors indicating above-normal temperatures that are indicative of El Niño. (NOAA)

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.

The average sea-surface temperature departure from the average over the four weeks ending on Nov. 7, 2015. Graphic by NOAA / climate.gov. (NOAA / Climate.gov)

The average sea-surface temperature departure from the average over the four weeks ending on Nov. 7, 2015. Graphic by NOAA / climate.gov. (NOAA / Climate.gov)

Read the entire story at Los Angeles Times.

1 Comment

  • Nomore

    Temps are the hottest on record, however the volume of warm water isn’t as large as either the 97 or 82 event. Also the North to South temperature gradient is as severe. This El Nino shouldn’t be taken lightly, but it also could be not quite as devastating as the media is reporting.

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