Even as the wet winter weather continued in earnest this week along the South Coast, the folks from the National Weather Service announced that El Nino conditions in the equatorial waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean (a weather phenomena that is generally charged with rainier being responsible for rainier than normal winters here in Southern California) appear to be breaking down.
In their latest El Nino update, issued February 8, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported a slight cooling in sea surface temperatures along the equator. El Nino is characterized by warming trends in this area. However, NOAA concluded that a “significant El Nino remains persistent” and, more importantly, that its “impacts are expected to continue into the Northern Hemisphere’s Spring.”
Generally speaking, El Nino is said to occur when the aforementioned area of ocean water rises at least .5 degrees Celsius above normal. That has been the case since June of last year. Moreover, as we have seen an uptick in wet, windy, and wave-filled weather here in Santa Barbara County in recent months, those same stretches of soothsaying ocean have actually been hanging out anywhere from one degree to 2.5 degrees above normal. According to NOAA, these indicators, though still warmer than normal, decreased in some places during the latter half of January by as much as 1.2 degrees, thus indicating that the hold of El Nino is weakening.