Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Climate Change La Nina Cold Central, Eastern Pacific Causes Warm Easterly Winds Currents Flow East Towards Australia

Tags: Climate Change La Nina Floods SE Asia Australia Droughts South America Rain Snow NW East USA

If you have been following El Nino and La Nina comments in the media and my comments about warmer ocean currents around southeastern waters leading to droughts in the Galapagos , you might be more than slightly confused by the reporter’s comments about the reasons for the floods in Australia where normally warmer waters predict droughts.

The explanation I gave for the droughts is that the updraft resulting from the warmer waters causes rain to fall in the ocean instead of land with no prevailing wind pushing the moisture laden air towards land. In the case of Australia, the wind is favoring movement of moisture laden air to move over land.

Now the western coast of South America, the Amazon, and Argentina are experiencing droughts while California and the Northwest including Canada is experiencing heavy rains and snow in the mountains. The pattern of the jet streams has changed which explains the weather now on the East Coast’s cooler temperatures and more violent storms due to it interacting with the warm air from the Southern United States to varying extents.

Jim Kawakami, Jan 12, 2011,

David Fogarty SINGAPORE, Jan. 12, 2011 (Reuters) —

… The rains have been blamed on one of the strongest La Nina patterns ever recorded. La Nina is a cooling of ocean temperatures in the east and central Pacific, which usually leads to more rain over much of Australia, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia.

This is because the phenomena leads to stronger easterly winds in the tropics that pile up warm water in the western Pacific and around Australia. Indonesia said on Wednesday it expected prolonged rains until June. …

"The first thing we can say with La Nina and El Nino is it is now happening in a hotter world," …

He said the current La Nina was different because of the warmest ocean temperatures on record around Australia and record humidity in eastern Australia over the past 12 months. …

Prominent U.S. climate scientist Kevin Trenberth said the floods and the intense La Nina were a combination of factors.

He pointed to high ocean temperatures in the Indian Ocean near Indonesia early last year as well as the rapid onset of La Nina after the last El Nino ended in May.

"The rapid onset of La Nina meant the Asian monsoon was enhanced and the over 1 degree Celsius anomalies in sea surface temperatures led to the flooding in India and China in July and Pakistan in August," he told Reuters in an email.

He said a portion, about 0.5C, of the ocean temperatures around northern Australia, which are more than 1.5C above pre-1970 levels, could be attributed to global warming. …


A man looks at debris floating across a flooded street in the inner Brisbane suburb of West End January 12, 2011. REUTERS/ABC News/Giulio Saggin

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  1. Recent studies show that an increase of 4 degrees C in Antarctica ocean caused all the glacier to melt during the Pleistocene era which goes to 11,000 years ago. Jim

  2. Weather patterns worldwide most likely due to warmer ocean temperatures in the equatorial regions have led to violent storms. But a shift in wind and currents could also cause droughts such is now the case in Venezuela and heaving rains in Southern Brazil. RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) Jan 12, 2011 (NYT) — Floods and landslides devastated several mountain towns near Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, killing at least 257 people as torrents of water and mud swept through the region, burying many families as they slept.

    At least 130 people were killed in Teresópolis, about 60 miles north of Rio, town officials said, after hillsides and riverbanks buckled under the equivalent of a month’s rainfall in only 24 hours, sending water and mud surging through communities. ...