SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A climate phenomenon known as El Niño could return later this year, bringing significant weather impacts to the United States.
El Niño is the name given to a change in water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Specifically every 6 or 7 years the water in the tropical eastern Pacific gets unusually warm causing major impacts on weather in the United States.
Scientists at UMass Amherst have been following the possibility for the development of an El Niño pattern by the end of this year.
Climatologist Michael Rawlins told 22News, “During a strong El Niño year we do tend to see warmer than average conditions here in the northeastern US and also potentially less snowfall.”
This pattern typically leads to stronger winds in the Caribbean and Atlantic which limits hurricane and tropical storm development.
Potentially the best news out of this potential El Niño pattern is that the drought-stricken southwestern United States typically gets lots of rain in the wintertime once an El Niño is underway.
Scientists put the chances of an El Niño later this year at 50 percent.