Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .




EARTH OBSERVATION
La Nina's Exit Leaves Climate Forecasts in Limbo
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Jun 30, 2011


The latest satellite data of Pacific Ocean sea surface heights from the NASA/European Ocean Surface Topography Mission/Jason-2 satellite show near-normal conditions in the equatorial Pacific. The image is based on the average of 10 days of data centered on June 18, 2011. Higher (warmer) than normal sea surface heights are indicated by yellows and reds, while lower (cooler) than normal sea surface heights are depicted in blues and purples. Green indicates near-normal conditions. Image credit: NASA/JPL Ocean Surface Topography Team.

It's what Bill Patzert, a climatologist and oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., likes to call a "La Nada" - that puzzling period between cycles of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean when sea surface heights in the equatorial Pacific are near average.

The comings and goings of El Nino and La Nina are part of a long-term, evolving state of global climate, for which measurements of sea surface height are a key indicator. For the past three months, since last year's strong La Nina event dissipated, data collected by the U.S.-French Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM)/Jason-2 oceanography satellite have shown that the equatorial Pacific sea surface heights have been stable and near average.

Elsewhere, however, the northeastern Pacific Ocean remains quite cool, with sea levels much lower than normal. The presence of cool ocean waters off the U.S. West Coast has also been a factor in this year's cool and foggy spring there.

The current state of the Pacific is shown in this OSTM/Jason-2 image, based on the average of 10 days of data centered on June 18, 2011. The image depicts places where Pacific sea surface height is higher (warmer) than normal as yellow and red, while places where the sea surface is lower (cooler) than normal are shown in blue and purple. Green indicates near-normal conditions. Sea surface height is an indicator of how much of the sun's heat is stored in the upper ocean.

For oceanographers and climate scientists like Patzert, "La Nada" conditions can bring with them a high degree of uncertainty. While some forecasters (targeting the next couple of seasons) have suggested La Nada will bring about "normal" weather conditions, Patzert cautions previous protracted La Nadas have often delivered unruly jet stream patterns and wild weather swings.

In addition, some climatologists are pondering whether a warm El Nino pattern (which often follows La Nina) may be lurking over the horizon. Patzert says that would be perfectly fine for the United States.

"For the United States, there would be some positives to the appearance of El Nino this summer," Patzert said.

"The parched and fire-ravaged southern tier of the country would certainly benefit from a good El Nino soaking. Looking ahead to late August and September, El Nino would also tend to dampen the 2011 hurricane season in the United States. We've had enough wild and punishing weather this year. Relief from the drought across the southern United States and a mild hurricane season would be very welcome."

Jason-2 scientists will continue to monitor Pacific Ocean sea surface heights for signs of El Nino, La Nina or prolonged neutral conditions.

.


Related Links
View the latest Jason-1 and OSTM/Jason-2 data
Earth Observation News - Suppiliers, Technology and Application






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EARTH OBSERVATION
NASA satellite gets 2 tropical cyclones in 1 shot
Greenbelt MD (SPX) Jun 24, 2011
The Northwestern Pacific Ocean is active with two tropical cyclones, Tropical Storm Meari near the Philippines, and Tropical Depression Haima moving over China and now toward Vietnam. NASA's Aqua satellite passed over the region on June 22 and captured an infrared image of both storms in one image. One of the instruments onboard NASA's Aqua satellite is the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AI ... read more


EARTH OBSERVATION
ARTEMIS Spacecraft Prepare for Lunar Orbit

LRO Showing Us the Moon as Never Before

CMU and Astrobotic Technology Complete Structural Assembly of Lunar Lander

Blood Red Moon Predicted

EARTH OBSERVATION
New Animation Depicts Next Mars Rover in Action

Islands of Life - Part One

Opportunity Getting Closer to Endeavour Crater

NASA Mars Rover Arrives in Florida After Cross-Country Flight

EARTH OBSERVATION
Charles Bolden National Press Club Address - July 1

Spend your summer in space...at the Science Museum

Sierra Nevada Space Systems Completes Milestones For Commercial Crew Program

Unfasten your seatbelts aboard the ZERO-G

EARTH OBSERVATION
China to launch new communication satellite

China's second moon orbiter Chang'e-2 goes to outer space

Building harmonious outer space to achieve inclusive development

China's Fengyun-3B satellite goes into official operation

EARTH OBSERVATION
Training for ISS flight operations

Space junk narrowly misses station

Improving Slumber on the Space Station With Sleep-Long

ATV-2: re-entry over the south Pacific

EARTH OBSERVATION
Minotaur Rocket Launch from NASA Wallops Re-Scheduled

Parallel Ariane 5 launch campaigns keep up Arianespace's 2011 mission pace

Ariane 5 payload integration underway; First Soyuz launchers arrive

Arianespace to launch Astra 5B satellite

EARTH OBSERVATION
Microlensing Finds a Rocky Planet

A golden age of exoplanet discovery

CoRoT's new detections highlight diversity of exoplanets

Rage Against the Dying of the Light

EARTH OBSERVATION
China's army develops online war game: report

Study: Rare earth elements can be recycled

Microsoft takes Office into the 'cloud'

Debris narrowly misses International Space Station




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement