66% chance of an El Niño — a big one — in 2014: NOAA

Scientists now are closely watching the Pacific and will know with more certainty in two or three months what the winter should bring. For now, all the trend lines are showing a greater likelihood of a wet winter than a dry one, particularly with the massive Kelvin wave still moving.

“Don’t hyperventilate yet,” Patzert said. “It’s a little too early to say the drought will be over, but this Kelvin wave is no dud. This is a stud.”

In March, the climate/weather experts at NOAA/the CPC/JPL/etc declared we had a 52% chance oi an El Niño. 

In April yesterday they said the chances had jumped to 66% –and it looks like a big one. 

From Paul Rogers' story in the San Jose Mercury News:

"Considering the desperate situation we are in here in the American West, wouldn't it be sweet if the great wet hope came riding over the horizon on these Kelvin waves?" said Bill Patzert, a research scientist and oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena.

The Kelvin wave now in the central Pacific is larger and warmer than any since records were first kept 35 years ago — even exceeding the Kelvin wave of 1997-98. That winter was the last major El Niño event, when rainfall across California was double the historic average, rivers flooded and mudslides closed highways. Seeing similar conditions shaping up, even early in the year, is attracting scientists' attention.

Patzert is only the most colorful of the many experts quoted on the building ENSO of 2014. 

"We're seeing a pretty strong tilt toward El Niño," said Michelle L'Heureux, a meteorologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Md.

But what could end one extreme could begin another: Researchers are particularly intrigued by an enormous mass of warm water flowing through the Pacific that has been linked to heavy winter downpours and flooding in the past.

The satellite picture of the Kelvin wave is indubitably awesome. 

ENSO2014

Scientists now are closely watching the Pacific and will know with more certainty in two or three months what the winter should bring. For now, all the trend lines are showing a greater likelihood of a wet winter than a dry one, particularly with the massive Kelvin wave still moving.

"Don't hyperventilate yet," Patzert said. "It's a little too early to say the drought will be over, but this Kelvin wave is no dud. This is a stud."

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