MILWAUKEE (WITI) — It’s probably the catchiest term in the meteorologist’s lexicon, El Niño. This global phenomena may not directly cause weather extremes in our corner of the world, but it certainly can tip the scales in favor of them.
So what is El Niño and when will we see it again? In some years, warmer than normal water pools in the eastern Pacific Ocean near South America while normal water temps remain near Indonesia and Australia. This is an El Niño event. A La Niña event is nearly opposite with warmer waters in the west (Indonesia) and cooler waters in the east (South America).
The greatest affects of El Niño are generally felt in winter. That’s when NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center believes it could return with full force. The most recent monthly forecast from the CPC states “chances of El Niño increase during the remainder of the year, exceeding 50% by summer.”