La Niña Anticipated To Bring Warm, Dry Winter Because Everything Is Horrible
Ah yes, the holiday season. Heat up a cup of warm cocoa. Slip Die Hard 2 into your Blu-ray player. Wade through the throng of winter-coated shoppers at the Grove. Put out that brush fire. Wait, what?
That's right, reports indicate that there's a 70% chance that a La Niña is headed for our fair continent this fall, along with a 55% percent chance that it will occur during the winter months as well, according to Stuart Seto, our trusted weather specialist at the National Weather Service.
There's a lot to dissect if you're going into the nuts and bolts of La Niña. But, what it means for us Southlanders, basically, is that we may be facing a dry and warm holiday season. More specifically, the current projections say that a La Niña is likely to bring higher-than-average temperatures during the fall. As for rain, however, researchers say that it can be anything from lots of rain to very little rain. Things are a little bit more dire for the winter; if a La Niña does occur, we're expected to get both below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures.
This means that, yes, we may soon be gazing at the fires in the mountains, rather than the crackling embers in our own fireplace. "There does tend to be more red flag warnings under these conditions," said Seto, adding that this is especially true for the current period we're in, as it's Santa Ana Winds season.
What's La Niña? You could say that it's the flipside of El Niño. While El Niño (usually) leads to a rainy winter season for the Southland, La Niña often means a drier winter. During La Niña, a high pressure system builds up in the Pacific and directs all the storms up north to Washington, Oregon, and even parts of Canada.
Sure, it's a bummer that we won't be able to bundle up in our favorite jackets this season. But if you want to go into a catatonic depression, you should look at the broader implications of La Niña. While 2015 was the hottest year on record across the globe, Seto says that 2016 has a good chance of taking home the trophy. He said that every month in 2016 has set records for being the hottest in recorded history (September, however, was the second hottest recorded). So, if La Niña does arrive and brings us above-average temps, 2016 may be a shoo-in for being the hottest year ever in contemporary history. Is this healthy? That the top five hottest years are comprised of the last five years? Probably not.
As noted at the New York Times, this is strong evidence that global warming is indeed at play (man, are we still debating this?). Scientists at Pennsylvania State University say that the odds of randomly setting two back-to-back records is about one in every 1,500 pairs of years.
With all that said, weather projections aren't always foolproof. While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said earlier this year that there was a 75% percent of an La Nina, they backtracked in July and said there was only a 50% chance. Now that figure is back up to 70 percent. So ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.