A rare third year of La Niña is on deck for California, forecasters say
With this year’s fourth-highest level of global sea-surface temperature in the record books, it will be the third year in a row of La Niña conditions, or cooling, in the northern Pacific. NOAA forecasters predict that the state will see an extra 0.1 to 0.3 degrees Fahrenheit of cooling from 2018 to 2019, according to a report issued Monday.
The weather pattern is expected to begin in late 2018, with La Niña conditions likely to hit California by the end of 2019. The pattern will last through the first half of next year, NOAA said, and continue during the second half, which is when the next El Niña should arrive.
“What you get from La Niña is a more normal climate,” said Brian Brettschneider, a senior scientist at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. “It gets your temperature average, and it actually gets down enough to get rid of whatever’s causing the climate to be hot and dry so far.”
Last year, NOAA said, it was the first time since 2010 that La Niña conditions were on the books in California. The following two years will match or beat that record.
An El Niño, also known as an El Niño Southern Oscillation, is a naturally occurring weather pattern that occurs every three to seven years.
That’s when there is a marked drop in sea surface temperature in the tropical Pacific. It takes three years for a La Niña to build up in the climate record, with the third year being the lowest point in the record.
A La Niña-like climate in 2019 could bring another record year for California, Brettschneider said.
An El Niño, also known as an El Niño Southern Oscillation, is a naturally occurring weather pattern that occurs every three