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Old 09-13-2006, 04:32 PM   #1
Alan l.
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Default EL Nino - How is it going to affect our 06/07 ski/snowboarding season?

From what I gathered el nino means bad news for skiers and riders.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - El Nino, an extreme warming of equatorial waters in the Pacific Ocean that wreaks havoc with world weather conditions, has formed and will last into 2007, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said on Wednesday.

The El Nino has already helped make the Atlantic hurricane season milder than expected, said a forecaster for the NOAA.

"The weak El Nino is helping to explain why the hurricane season is less than we expected. El Ninos tend to suppress hurricane activity in the Atlantic," said Gerry Bell, a hurricane forecaster for NOAA.

The NOAA's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) said the El Nino probably will spur warmer-than-average temperatures this winter over western and central Canada and the western and northern United States.

It said El Nino also will cause wetter-than-average conditions in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Florida, and spark dry conditions in the Ohio valley, the Pacific Northwest and most U.S. islands in the tropical Pacific.

In Asia and South America, the last severe El Nino killed hundreds of people and caused billions of dollars in damage as crops shriveled across the Asia-Pacific basin. This El Nino has caused drier-than-average conditions across Indonesia, Malaysia and most of the Philippines.

Indonesia is the most populous Moslem country with over 200 million people, while the Philippines have nearly 90 million. Both are major importers of U.S. grains.

The CPC Web site said surface temperatures were substantially warmer than normal by early September in the Pacific. Scientists detect formation of El Ninos by monitoring sea surface temperatures with a system of buoys.

"Currently, weak El Nino conditions exist, but there is a potential for this event to strengthen into a moderate event by winter," Vernon Kousky, the chief El Nino expert at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, said in a statement.

"The latest...predictions indicate El Nino conditions for the remainder of 2006 and into the northern hemisphere spring (of) 2007," the CPC Web site explained.

El Nino, which means 'little boy' in Spanish, hits once every three years or so. Anchovy fishermen in South America noticed the phenomenon in the 19th century and named it for the Christ child since it appeared around Christmas, and it normally peaks late in the year.


One immediate impact of the El Nino is during the current Atlantic hurricane season, which follows on the heels of the record 28 storms and 15 hurricanes which struck in 2005.

Last year's howlers included monsters like Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. But this El Nino apparently has helped hinder storm formation in 2006. So far, there has only been seven tropical storms and two hurricanes halfway through the hurricane season, which begins June 1 and ends November 30.

Scientists said El Ninos disrupt storm formation because it allows wind shear to rip apart thunderstorms in the center of the hurricanes, reducing power and intensity as a result.


An El Nino also usually leads to milder winter weather in the U.S. northeast, the top heating oil market in the world.

Bell said scientists will have a better idea in the fall how long this El Nino will last. "There's no way to say at this time how strong it is going to be. It's too early," he said.

The last severe El Nino struck in 1997/98. The weather phenomenon caused searing drought in Indonesia, Australia and the Philippines while causing rampant flooding in Ecuador and Chile, the world's top producer of copper.

The NOAA's climate prediction Web site is: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/product...itoring/enso_a dvisory/index.html

(Additional reporting by Jim Loney in Miami)
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:38 PM   #2
Alan l.
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Alan l. View Post
something something El Nino
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:48 PM   #4
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Moderate El Nino years have been real good for Lake Tahoe, CA and crappy for Whistler, BC in the last 5 years or so. The two years we had a moderate El Nino
I haven't been able to determine if this is actually a severe El Nino or just a moderate one. Also last year at this time they claimed it was going to be a neutral year with respect to El Nino/La Nina effect. Then in January NOAA released a press release claiming La Nina "as predicted." I started going ballastic until I dug further and realized they update their seasonal forcasts every couple of months.
Lesson Learned? You can't plan your ski trips around El Nino effects.
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Old 09-13-2006, 08:24 PM   #5
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why is it that the weatherman can't predict what's going to happen a few days out, but can predict 6 months out?

I really hope they're wrong. We're planning a trip to Whistler this year for my 30th birthday. I hope there's some good snow. I love the 7th heaven area on Blackcomb when there's deep and fresh snow.

I wonder if I should wait on my season pass until we're getting good snow. it's only a $30 difference between pre-season and regular season specials.

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