La Niña is on its way out. What does that mean for California?

The race to predict hurricanes

Since climate change has been linked to more extreme weather events, predicting future weather is extremely important. Climate change means that extreme weather events, such as hurricanes Harvey and Maria, are more likely to clobber the world every year. However, using the climate to predict the weather remains tough because the two have historically been studied separately. Worse, we don’t have much information on how the relationship between weather and climate has changed over time.

To solve this problem, Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading, started a project using Zooiverse, a platform for crowdsourcing citizen science online. “We can combine the historical data with modern weather forecast models to provide a much more detailed picture of the storms of the past,” Hawkins said. “The past is key to making projections for the future—we need to understand how the weather has already changed to better predict the future.”

Usually, meteorology focuses on weather in the short term, while climatology focuses on long-term trends in temperature, air patterns, and…


La Niña is on its way out. What does that mean for California?

la nina now

La Niña, the climate system associated with drier and warmer than average winters in Southern California, will likely be over by spring, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Thursday.

Scientists regularly look for the formation or absence of the system when predicting weather in the American Southwest. La Niñas are driven by changes in ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, as is the El Niño climate system that typically brings wetter, cooler winters to Southern California.

This winter, La Niña predictions of less rain and snow have been spot on as counties across SoCal have dipped back into to moderate-to-severe drought conditions…


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