This week, four saildrones departed from Hawaii on the second mission to the equator in an effort to improve the Tropical Pacific Observing System (TPOS). NOAA forecasts a 50-55% chance of a weak El Niño developing during September - November 2018, increasing to 65-70% chance during winter 2018-19. The second saildrone mission will thus capture ocean and atmospheric data during this developing El Niño, including changes in ocean temperature, winds, currents and ocean carbon dioxide concentrations.
During the first mission in late 2017-early 2018, La Niña conditions were present. Strong currents and low winds on the equator made navigation challenging. This year, two of the four saildrones have been outfitted with larger, more... more
In the News
Pacific Ocean temperatures are rising along the equator, a signal that winter likely will be warmer than normal in the Northwest. Federal climatologists peg the odds that... more
El Nino winters often bring warmer than normal temperatures and below normal snowfall. That would mean warmer and drier temperatures for the months of December, January... more
Imagine a hangover that lasts for years. In 2013 and 2014, a mass of warm water formed off the West Coast. The Blob, so named by Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond,... more
The first decade of the 21st century witnessed a slowdown in the rise of global surface atmospheric temperatures, referred to as the global warming hiatus. During this time, the tropical Pacific Ocean absorbed more heat from the atmosphere than in previous decades, associated with unusually strong trade winds and a cold phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. However, there is no evidence that the tropical Pacific heat content increased during this time. Where did the excess heat go?... more