NOAA 2002-149
Contact: Carmeyia Gillis
NOAA News Releases 2002
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Forecasters Monitor Warming Ocean Temperatures

Climate and weather experts from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) today said El Niño remains on track to influence weather across the United States during the upcoming winter season. NOAA is an agency of the Commerce Department.

Currently, NOAA scientists classify the El Niño’s intensity as moderate, but are watching closely for any further strengthening. “Following the recent trends, we expect the waters in the eastern equatorial Pacific to continue to warm, and mature El Niño conditions will prevail through February 2003. Although an increase in the strength of this El Niño is possible, we don’t expect it to compare with the 1997-98 version. Also, the global impacts should generally be weaker,” said Dr. Vernon Kousky, a meteorologist at the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC).

NOAA issued its first outlook for the upcoming winter season on Sept. 12 and still assert those projected conditions are on course. The nation can expect drier-than-average conditions in states in the Ohio Valley and northern Rockies; wetter-than-average conditions, with increased storm activity across the South; and warmer-than-average conditions across the north, including southern and southeastern Alaska.

NOAA will update its official national Winter 2002-2003 outlook and El Niño’s status in December.

The CPC issues seasonal climate outlooks from one to 13 months in advance. The CPC is one of the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP), which is a part of NOAA National Weather Service (NOAA Weather Service). NOAA Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories, and operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

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