The cause of a record warm El Niño year? Leftovers

Watts Up With That?

From AGU:

Leftover warm water in Pacific Ocean fueled massive El Niño

This is a comparison of the 2015 and 1997 El Niños, two of the strongest on record, in October of each respective year. Observations of sea surface heights and temperatures, as well as wind patterns, show surface waters cooling off in the Western Pacific and warming significantly in the tropical Eastern Pacific. CREDIT NASA's Earth Observatory.

elnino-compare This is a comparison of the 2015 and 1997 El Niños, two of the strongest on record, in each respective year. Observations of sea surface heights and temperatures, as well as wind patterns, show surface waters cooling off in the Western Pacific and warming significantly in the tropical Eastern Pacific. CREDIT NASA’s Earth Observatory.

WASHINGTON, DC — A new study provides insight into how the current El Niño, one of the strongest on record, formed in the Pacific Ocean. The new research finds easterly winds in the tropical Pacific Ocean stalled a potential El Niño in 2014 and left a swath of warm water in the central Pacific. The presence of that warm water stacked the deck for a monster El Niño to occur in 2015, according to the study’s authors.

El Niño and La Niña are the…

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