Monday June 19, 2023

Billings Gazette

The little troublemaker is back. It’s bad-but-expected news for salmon and steelhead runs up and down the West Coast, including those that return to the Snake and Columbia rivers.

The NOAA Climate Prediction Center recently said El Nino conditions are now present off the coast of South America, and they can be expected to gather strength by this winter. According to a news release from the agency, the weather phenomenon is identified by the accumulation of warmer-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean west of South America near the equator. El Nino (little boy in Spanish) influences global weather patterns.

“Depending on its strength, El Nino can cause a range of impacts, such as increasing the risk of heavy rainfall and droughts in certain locations around the world,” said Michelle L’Heureux, climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center, in the news release. “Climate change can exacerbate or mitigate certain impacts related to El Nino. For example, El Nino could lead to new records for temperatures, particularly in areas that already experience above-average temperatures during El Nino.”

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