All signs are pointing to a big El Niño heading California's way this winter, and LA's doing its part to try and prepare for whatever the Niño might throw our way (like floods or mudslides). It's a good thing, too, because new research from a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory predicts that California is going to be feeling a lot of the effects of the weather phenomenon in the form of rain (not so much snow), says Phys.Org. A chief scientist with JPL's Earth Science and Technology Directorate says the number of atmospheric rivers—the "concentrated rain bands"—that dump loads of water on the state will remain the same (an average of about 10 a year), but they will be "stronger, warmer and wetter" than usual, pointing to lots and lots and lots of rain.
The JPL scientist, who arrived at the conclusion after studying "the historical record of atmospheric rivers," summed it up by saying, "Overall, we'll likely get more precipitation, but maybe less in terms of snowfall." While that might sound great after so many dry, droughty years, he added that the wetter, warmer, stronger atmospheric rivers may contribute to more flooding.
Another scientist—this one a research meteorologist with the Earth Systems Research Laboratory at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration—found indicators of a wetter El Niño winter as well, by studying the relationship between the strength of previous years' El Niños and the amount of rainfall they bring. "What we learned is weak El Niños don't necessarily change the odds of precipitation being much different from normal," he says. "The rare occurrence of a strong El Niño, like what we're currently experiencing, however, greatly increases the odds of a wet California winter."
· NASA examines global impacts of the 2015 El Nino [Phys.Org]
· How LA is Prepping to Take This Winter's Monster El Niño [Curbed LA]
· There's a 95 Percent Chance SoCal is Getting Hit With a Huge El Niño This Winter [Curbed LA]