Waning influence of once-telling weather patterns altered by global warming skews projections.
For Californians from Crescent City to Chula Vista, the second week of 2018 brought rain showers. Was it merely a fluke in the middle of an ongoing dry spell, or does it mean we’re on the verge of another wet winter, similar to last year’s? The answer, according to a UCI climatologist, is up in the air – literally and figuratively.
The two factors that have, historically, affected winter rainfall in California are El Niño/La Niña and air circulation above the Northern Hemisphere, says Earth system science professor Jin-Yi Yu, who has made a career of studying the mechanics of the Earth’s climate and weather systems.
Experts had become skilled at “reading” the ocean-temperature-related conditions to forecast the amount of precipitation the Southwest could expect each year. But recently the predictive powers offered by these phenomena appear to be slipping, with global climate change a possible culprit.
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Image via Steve Zylius, University of California Irvine