Well, Look Who It Is

El Niño finally showed up—and he’s not going to be doing us any favors.

March 06, 2015

The El Niño event forecasters began warning of a year ago has finally arrived, albeit fashionably late. Characterized by unusually warm waters in the equatorial Pacific, an El Niño can bring about global weather changes. But the current one is so weak and ill-timed, it probably won’t offer its usual full menu of disruptions. For example, it’s unlikely to bring the drought-crippled West any wet relief.

The weather pattern may, however, make 2015 another record-breaker, especially if it sticks around through the dog days of summer (there’s a 50 percent to 60 percent chance for that, says NOAA). El Niño literally brings the heat—pushing our already warming global temperatures a little further up the thermometer. But as last year—when El Niño was a no-show—proved, we’re doing a mighty good job of burning fossil fuels and making things toasty all by ourselves. 

Photo: NOAAAn animation of sea surface temperature anomalies in the tropical Pacific

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