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Climatologist Says El Nino Fizzling in Texas

China Agriculture Report By CnAgri2012-10-31 19:32:07China Agriculture Report Print

El Ni駉 has fizzled, and you can forget the forecasts of a wetter, cooler Texas winter, said the state climatologist. Though many agricultural producers may be disappointed in not having a wet winter to replenish soil-moisture levels, there抯 some good news mixed with the bad, said Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, state climatologist and regents professor at Texas A&M University.

"The closest thing to a sure bet is that this won抰 be another La Ni馻 winter," Nielsen-Gammon said. "But next year the odds are La Ni馻 will ramp up again, and with them the chances that next winter will be a dry one."

As recently as late August, forecasters, including those at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center, were expecting a stronger-than-average El Ni駉 to develop in the tropical Pacific, he said.

The earlier prediction of a strong El Ni駉 was good news for drought recovery for most of the state, Nielsen-Gammon said. Though an El Ni駉's effects are usually stronger in the southern parts of the state and along the Gulf Coast, it generally leads to wetter, cooler weather for the entire state.

Typically, the development of an El Ni駉 begins with warmer ocean temperatures, at least about 1 degree Fahrenheit, above normal, which is what climatologists were seeing during the summer, he said. The situation, once it begins, usually results in a feedback situation that further raises ocean temperatures and magnifies the effect.

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