El Nino, 1997 - National Centers for Environmental Protection, US

Yes, welcome back little boy, Christ child... NOAA has announced the return of the warm waters to the Eastern Pacific, though noting that this time, it's not as strong. "Weaker" is the decription that they use actually. The last El Niño, was in 1997-1998 when it seemed that everything and anything weatherwise was being blamed on the friggen thing. Rain? El Niño. Cold? El Niño. Warm? El Niño. Headache? El Niño.

You've heard the name, and the buzz, so what does it all mean? Scientists don't specifically know what triggers the event, but it can significantly affect the weather worldwide.

NOAA declares the onset of El Niño conditions when the three-month average sea-surface temperature departure exceeds 0.5 degrees C in the east-central equatorial Pacific [between 5 degrees -5 degrees S and 170 degrees W-120 degrees W]. To be classified as a full-fledged El Niño episode, these conditions must be satisfied for a period of at least five consecutive three-month seasons.

So it happens every 2-7 years on average. There is a lot of data out there describing the various affects of the event which include temperature and precipitation variations altered weather patterns. The Independent seems a little amped up from the recent hurricane onslaught saying,

The US government confirmed that a new El Niño is about to strike, bringing torrential rain and droughts around the world.

Okay easy there tiger... The impacts on New York are historically not as dramatic as other areas but according to the Climate Prediction Center we could expect to see slightly more precipitation and slightly warmer temps on average. If that's correct, The Farmers' Almanac forecast could be very accurate, and off base. It kind of seems like a fortune reading where you feel like they are describing everything perfectly and know you so well yet, they haven't really said anything definitive. We'll explore that more later.

Here are more questions of the frequently asked type. But before we sign off, we have to share this with you... Someone described as an employee of a major climate research institute submitted this theory on El Niño:

I think the reason for el-nino is the large difference in salinity near the Glaciers. I have a strange feeling that the sea beavers are playing havoc with us. There might be high sand dunes at the ocean bed and these might be affecting the ocean flow and hence the difference in temperatures. As most people think the el-nino is not due to the weakening of the trade winds.

Where can I get some references to study the life style of sea beavers?
Does any organisation measure the ocean salinity near the glaciers?

He said beavers...