End of La Nina?

Yup, that's what I said.  I can hardly believe it myself.  La Nina conditions have be waxing and waning for the past two years, and it finally looks like it has come to an end.  I have been hesitant to say it is done completely, because La Nina episodes are very reluctant to cease.  Even when they do end, they usually leave a "footprint" in the atmosphere that continues the prevailing weather pattern that existed during the La Nina.  We saw that last year...   Anyhow, below is a current look at Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in the Pacific Ocean:

Current Sea Surface Temperature Anomaly Plot

Remember, anomalously warm means El Nino and anomalously cold means La Nina.  Right now, most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean is near normal temperature-wise.  The Eastern Pacific Ocean near South America is showing anomalous warming.  Does this mean a transition to El Nino conditions?  Not right away.  It takes more than just a little warming of the ocean in a localized area to create full-blown El Nino conditions.  You have to see changes in the ocean as well as the atmosphere, and that hasn't occurred yet.  I do anticipate a transition to El Nino conditions, but probably late this year.  Computer models seem to agree.  Check out the graphic below:

The EURO Model takes us into El Nino conditions by late Summer and early Fall.  I take this with a grain of salt, because last year it did the same thing.  Well as you well know, we went back into La Nina conditions last Fall and it prevailed through the Winter.  I do have a little more reason to believe it now, because we have seen a COMPLETE erosion of La Nina conditions relative to Sea Surface Temperatures.  That is a good sign...

If we do transition to an El Nino pattern later this Summer, I would expect a pretty wet late Summer and Fall.  The last time we encoutered El Nino, we had a very active Monsoon season, a wet Fall, and an active Winter.  I am speaking of late 2006 and early 2007.  That was a weak El Nino that didn't have the proper ocean and atmospheric coupling.  The next El Nino should be able to do better, as that is usually the case after a period of La Nina conditions.  Bottomline, we may have some decent moisture for this Summer...  Keep you fingers crossed.

Chief Meteorologist Brian Bledsoe

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  • by Ryan Location: monument on May 20, 2009 at 06:49 AM
    thank god its finally over for now
  • by Brian Location: Weather Center on May 19, 2009 at 01:17 PM
    Julio, your lawn may have had mites or grubs during the Winter. Watering a bit during the Winter will help with that issue. Give Michael's advice a try, but if nothing happens, you will likely have to reseed or resod due to the mite issue.
  • by Michael Location: NE Colorado Springs on May 19, 2009 at 10:16 AM
    Julio, I did notice my grass having the same issue when it started coming out of dormancy. I started watering for 30 minutes on each cycle on my sprinkler system as well as applying the liquid revive what a world of difference. The key is to get deep penetration with the moisture allowing the grass roots to go deeper in the ground thus promoting a lush green lawn. Hopefully that helps and good luck on your grass! Hopefully we will start getting into a better chance of afternoon t-storms to get some much needed moisture. Mike
  • by Julio Location: 80907 on May 19, 2009 at 05:33 AM
    Yeah, I've noticed my grass and quite a few others on my street is about half dead. I attribute this to the lack of moisture we had last winter. Is anyone else experiencing the same? Lot's of big brown spots and a general mix of green and brown all over.
  • by austin Location: Canon city on May 18, 2009 at 12:09 AM
    This is good news because it's been dry and we need the moisture badly. Bring the rain on!!!
  • by Greg Location: Colo Spngs on May 16, 2009 at 08:38 AM
    So just where are we as far as moisture is concerned? It seams that lately, the weather is more like what would be found in Portland OR than Colo Spngs CO.
  • by JULIO Location: 80907 on May 12, 2009 at 09:50 AM
    Wow...that is GREAT news! I've been waiting for two years to hear those words!
  • by Brian Bledsoe Location: Weather Center on May 11, 2009 at 06:18 PM
    No problem Michael. While I don't think El Nino will develop quickly, the La Nada (neither El Nino or La Nina) conditions are more favorable for us to receive normal or above normal moisture. If we can have a decent Summer moisture-wise, and move into an El Nino this Winter, we will be in great shape. Time will tell... Thanks for reading our blog.
  • by Michael Location: NE Colorado Springs on May 11, 2009 at 12:25 PM
    I have to say this is great news if we continue to transition into an El Nino. I would assume that it would not only benefit Colorado but the rest of the moisture starved country. Thanks for the update Brian and if you could keep us informed as things change with the development of El Nino. Bring on the moisture!!
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