Monday January 9, 2023

The New York Times

As rain has deluged our parched state since New Year’s Eve, many Californians have found themselves asking a familiar question: Is this somehow because of El Niño?

In the California imagination, the climate pattern known as El Niño has an almost mythological status as a harbinger of prolonged wet spells, while its counterpart, La Niña, is associated with drought. The past three years have been La Niña years.

The continuing procession of storms this winter has drawn comparisons to the famed wet winter of 1997-98, when rain driven by El Niño drenched the Golden State. Californians are bracing for one of the season’s most intense storms to date on Monday and Tuesday.

But Daniel L. Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that El Niño hasn’t taken over — yet.

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