La Nina has reached its peak just as the Winter 2022/2023 begins. After that, it will begin its slow breakdown process while still affecting the weather patterns over the Winter season. But we are already seeing signs that later in 2023, an El Nino could emerge after several years. It can completely change the weather patterns for the weather seasons next year.
Global climate is very sensitive to large-scale changes in the oceans. That is why we monitor these anomalies, as they can significantly influence seasonal weather patterns. Especially in Winter, when the pressure systems are strongest.
First, we will quickly analyze how these ocean anomalies actually change global weather. Then we will see how they will affect the current Winter 2022/2023 and why an emerging El Nino event is so significant.
OCEAN-ATMOSPHERE GLOBAL WEATHER
El Nino and La Nina are just opposite faces of the ENSO, which stands for “El Niño Southern Oscillation.” This region in the equatorial Pacific Ocean periodically shifts between warm and cold phases. Typically there is a phase change around every 1-3 years.
ENSO significantly influences tropical rainfall, pressure patterns, and the complex energy exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere. We can observe large-scale pressure changes in the tropics with each developing or decaying phase.
The image below shows the ENSO regions across the tropical Pacific. Regions 3 and 4 cover the east and west tropical Pacific. The main area is a combination of regions 3 and 4, seen in the image as the Nino 3.4 region.
Each ENSO phase influences the pressure and weather in the tropics in a different way. This affects the overall global circulation over time, changing the weather patterns across the world.
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