Dry, Dry, Dry: Hopes for El Niño Collapse

Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has poured cold water on hopes for drought relief in California. The agency announced Tuesday that earlier warming in the Pacific Ocean, which usually indicates the start of an "El Niño" effect, had been counteracted by the arrival of cooler water. "While the majority of climate models suggest El Niño remains likely for the spring of 2014, most have eased their predicted strength," the agency reported.

El Niño typically brings large amounts of rainfall to California, sometimes causing flooding. As recently as April, U.S. meteorologists had forecast a 2-in-3 chance of an El Niño occurring in 2014, which would likely have brought California's record-breaking drought to an end. Now, according to Australian scientists, even if an El Niño effect did occur, it would be relatively weak. That means the drought conditions would likely continue.

"El Niño is wimping out," said U.S. climatologist Bill Patzert NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, according to the Los Angeles Times, which noted that the past two years are the driest period in downtown Los Angeles since records were kept. A small amount of rainfall fell downtown earlier in the week, but hardly enough to make an impact. Regulators are considering the first-ever statewide water restrictions.


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