March 2016 El Niño update: Spring Forward
In South America, southern Uruguay, Paraguay, and southern Brazil have received much more rain than their long-term December–February average, and the northern portion of the continent has been dry, as usually occurs this time of year during El Niño. Also consistent (so far) with El Niño’s typical impacts have been Africa’s rainfall patterns (wet in portions of Kenya and Tanzania and dry in southeastern Africa and southern Madagascar), the dryness through Indonesia and northern Australia, and the rains in southeastern China.
As Michelle discussed, the precipitation impacts in North America haven’t been quite as consistent with expectations so far, although the southeast and particularly Florida have received a lot more rain than average. Over the December–February season, the western coast of North America showed a pattern of drier north/wetter south, but the line between the two is shifted somewhat north of where it was during earlier El Niño events.
It’s a warm, warm world
El Niño’s effect on regional temperature is a little less distinct than its effect on precipitation patterns. Since El Niño changes the circulation of the atmosphere all around the world, it essentially changes where we expect rain to fall by steering storms to different locations. Temperature operates differently, especially since global warming is changing the averages. Michelle broke down some of the factors going into the super warm November and December in eastern North America – a good example of how attribution of seasonal temperature patterns is a complicated matter.
Read more from Climate.gov.
Images courtesy of Climate,gov.