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NW Fishletter #376, December 4, 2017

[6] NW Likely Experiencing Onset of a La Niña That Could Last to Spring

Current ocean and atmospheric conditions reflect the start of a La Niña, the National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said in a Nov. 9 post.

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Three-month temperature and precipitation forecasts. Credit: NOAA CPC

The consensus of forecasters is for a weak La Niña in the Northern Hemisphere to continue through February-April 2018.

The probability of a La Niña event this winter increased to 65 to 75 percent, up from 55 to 65 percent last month.

Tropical sea surface temperatures were volatile during September, but seem to have stayed at about 0.5 degrees Celsius colder than average, giving forecasters more confidence these conditions will persist for some months to come.

Climate blogger Emily Becker wrote that October's atmospheric response, that is clouds and rain, were accompanied by stronger-than-average upper-level winds over the Pacific Ocean, which is also consistent with a La Niña.

Three-month predictions anticipate cooler-than-average temperatures in the northwest half of Washington and Oregon, but equal chances of above- and below-average temperatures in the Columbia Basin.

Precipitation in the coming three months is predicted to be above average in the northern portions of the Northwest and Columbia Basin.

Most of California can anticipate temperatures warmer than average.

The next El Niño/La Niña system update is set for Dec. 14.

The consensus forecast is based on two prediction models, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society/CPC and the North American Multi-Model Ensemble. -Laura Berg

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Publisher/Editor-in-Chief: Mark Ohrenschall, Editor: Laura Berg
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