A persistent blob of warm water in the Pacific thought responsible for the California and southwest droughts has moved. Scientists think this could herald the beginning of a desperately needed El Nino with an accompanying Pineapple Express. This year it looks like El Nino will be a genuine force, unlike the “El Wimpo” of 2014. In a true Pineapple Express, rainstorms line up in the Pacific and come barreling into California, one after another, dumping rain there and throughout the southwest. And in 2015, it looks like this really might happen.
The last time it appeared – in 1997 – it was followed within months by one of California’s wettest El Nino winters ever. Indeed, satellite data reveal an unusually large mass of warm water in the equatorial Pacific, the trademark of El Nino, is now moving toward the Americas.
If the El Nino continues developing as expected, so-called “pineapple express” storms would be expected to begin arriving next winter.
The warming water off California is precisely the reason ailing and dead sea lions have washed ashore.
But all signs suggest the coastal water warming trend will continue and the impact is already visible along the California coast, where malnourished sea lions washed ashore all winter, as the fish they feed on headed out to sea, in search of cooler water.
“Often times it’s the biology that’s the first indication that the climate is about to change,” said Willis.
Let’s hope so.