Drought news: Forecasters see good chance that El Niño will develop over the eastern Pacific Ocean #CODrought


From the Boulder Daily Camera (Joe Rubino/Erica Meltzer):

Klaus Wolter, a climatologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, said he believes Colorado’s weather is transitioning from a La Niña pattern to an El Niño pattern.

El Niño, the result of unusually warm temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, tends to cause wet weather for the southwestern U.S…

However, fires burning across the state could delay the arrival of the wet weather. In 2002, another dry year in which a La Niña pattern was transitioning to an El Niño pattern, the Hayman Fire and others contributed to rain being delayed until mid-September. “Back in 2002, we had an El Niño developing, and it didn’t deliver,” Wolter said. “The monsoon was trying to work its way up, but we had all these fires and it has all these microphysical effects.

“We have all this haze and all this soot in the air, and it’s harder to get thunderstorms going because there is less heating on the ground, believe it or not,” Wolter said. Wolter said he thinks the Front Range is in a better position now than in 2002. Because the fires are concentrated along the Front Range, the circulating monsoon system is exposed to fire-free areas farther west…

Boulder meteorologist Matt Kelsch warned against getting too excited for a strong monsoon season in Colorado or the wetting effects of an El Niño pattern this early in the year. El Niño’s effects are most often felt in the fall and winter, Kelsch said, and while this week looks promising for moisture, he worries the conditions may not last long.

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