Jeff Master’s Wunderground has news for those of us who are SICK AND TIRED of snow, snow snow.
“…The El Niño forecast
Though El Niño appears to have peaked, the decline in SSTs over the Equatorial Pacific may slow and possibly reverse in February, thanks to a burst of stronger-than-average surface westerly winds that has developed near the Date Line. This westerly wind burst is driving a new Kelvin wave of sub-surface warm water towards the coast of South America, which will act to reinforce El Niño over the next month or so. This new Kelvin wave is not as strong as the previous one that propagated eastward over the last few months of 2009, which pushed El Niño over the “strong” threshold. Once the new Kelvin wave subsides in March, it is possible that there will be more westerly wind bursts that will act to drive new Kelvin waves that will reinforce El Niño into the summer. However, El Niño events typically die out in the spring, and most of the El Niño computer forecast models (Figure 2) are predicting an end to El Niño by summer. Note that the last time we had a strong El Niño event–the record El Niño of 1997 – 1998–the event ended very abruptly in May, and a La Niña event developed by the 1998 hurricane season. This resulted in a very active 1998 hurricane season (14 named storms, 10 hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes, including Category 5 Hurricane Mitch). The recent weakening of El Niño is a likely sign that there will not be El Niño conditions for the coming hurricane season. Only once since 1950 has an El Niño event lasted through two full hurricane seasons, and I don’t expect that will occur this time, either. Given that since 1995, the Atlantic has been in an active hurricane period, except for in El Niño years, a more active than normal hurricane season is likely in 2010….”