March 2008 La Nina Update

March 11, 2008
ICM News

By Elwynn Taylor, Department of Agronomy

An area of warm sea surface temperature has formed off the Peru coast. Watch this to possibly “kill” La Nina.  By March 3 the water north of Australia was cooling and west of Peru was warming.Two signs of a La Nina about to fade (and with it the risk of serious Midwest drought diminishes somewhat). 

Also the slight cooling north and east of Hawaii is a step toward a good season for the High Plains. The Trade Winds on March 3  remained stronger than usual near the “date line,” but have diminished to below normal off the coast of S. America (110W). This is may be a step toward a shift to El Nino.

Weather conditions in the U.S. continue to be approximately typical of La Nina and the Southern Oscillation Index (90-day) at 1.58 appears to have passed its peak intensity.  It is too early to say that the risk of widespread drought is reduced because of a diminished La Nina event.

Elwynn Taylor is a professor with responsibilities  for developing and implementing of extension education and information programs in agricultural climatology.


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