El Nino 2010: Small, medium, large…or wanna-be?

The infamous El Niño, bringer of warm winters and rain to Southern California, is back, NOAA says, and thanks to a surprisingly wet November, we're still ahead of normal in our total rainfall for this water year.

Wouldn't you like to know what that really means?

The truth is, no one knows. But for the latest in knowledgeable speculation, please see this week's cover story in the Reporter. Here's a snippet:

El Niño, the best-known and most powerful of all ocean climate
patterns, in its warm (positive) phase brings a flow of warm water from
the tropics along the equator toward the west coast, in what’s called a
Kelvin wave, about every five years, which feeds moisture to rain
patterns in our area. But the last El Niño episode, in 2003, brought
only slightly more rainfall than normal to our area, and has already
been forgotten, while the huge storms of 2005, which devastated the
state and killed 20 people, had little or no connection to El Niño.

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