Current La Niña most intense in 50 years

La Niña is expected to continue well into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2011.

The latest report from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) noted that “A moderate-to-strong La Niña continued during December 2010 as reflected by well below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.” The CPC report said that La Niña is expected to continue well into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2011.

Physorg reports:

New NASA satellite data indicate the current La Niña event in the eastern Pacific has remained strong during November and December 2010.

The La Niña is evident by the large pool cooler than normal (blue and purple) water stretching from the eastern to the central Pacific Ocean, reflecting lower than normal sea surface heights. "This La Niña has strengthened for the past seven months, and is one of the most intense events of the past half century," said Climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA JPL. Credit: NASA JPL/Bill Patzert

A new Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 satellite image of the Pacific Ocean that averaged 10 days of data was just released fromNASA. The image, centered on Dec. 26, 2010, was created at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif.

“The solid record of La Niña strength only goes back about 50 years and this latest event appears to be one of the strongest ones over this time period,” said Climatologist Bill Patzert of JPL. “It is already impacting weather and climate all around the planet.”

“Although exacerbated by precipitation from a tropical cyclone, rainfalls of historic proportion in eastern Queensland, Australia have led to levels of flooding usually only seen once in a century,” said David Adamec, Oceanographer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. “The copious rainfall is a direct result of La Niña’s effect on the Pacific trade winds and has made tropical Australia particularly rainy this year.”

The new image depicts places where the Pacific sea surface height is near-normal, higher (warmer) than normal and lower (cooler) than normal. The cooler-than normal pool of water that stretches from the eastern to the central Pacific Ocean is a hallmark of a La Niña event.

Related: https://ktwop.wordpress.com/2011/01/12/la-nina-driving-severe-rains-and-floods-in-brazil-and-australia/

 

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