La Niña has ended. Does that mean a transition to El Nino this summer?

NEW ENGLAND — NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center announced an end to La Nina conditions, defined by cooler-than-average ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific. 

La Nina has been driving the forecast for the last two and a half years. Now forecasters are calling for “neutral” conditions this spring and expecting a transition to El Nino this summer, defined by warmer than average waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific.  This change in the climate pattern impacts weather globally, especially in the tropics. 

Dry weather and drought threaten Indonesia, India, Australia, and northern South America into Central America.  Much of South America experience above-average temperatures with locally heavy rainfall in parts of Chile and Argentina.

The impacts of El Nino are not as strong in the United States. 

Rain relief is favored in parts of the southwestern US, including southern California.  Although slightly warmer temperatures have occurred in strong El Nino summers across the Northern Plains and Pacific Northwest, temperatures generally run a little cool across the country. 

The biggest player may be the tendency for El Nino to reduce activity during the Atlantic Hurricane Season which runs from June 1st through November 30th.

In New England, we’ve historically seen slightly cooler and drier weather than normal.  The last summer El Nino episode was in 2015. Boston and Worcester experienced above-average rainfall and below-average temperatures in June 2015.  Then conditions shifted to normal and slightly warmer than average in July and August with below-average rainfall.

The current Climate Prediction Center Outlook for the three-month period of June, July, and August calls for above-average temperatures in the Northeast, without favoring dry or wet conditions.

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