Wednesday November 29, 2023

NBC News

In 1983, El Niño brought historic flooding to parts of Southern California, toppling sections of fishing piers and inspiring some to travel submerged streets by surfboard. In 1998, it returned, dusting regional mountains with snow through May.

For Californians’ collective mind, the weather phenomenon, defined by an eastward-moving, warmer-than-normal sea surface along the equatorial Pacific, is shaped by those traumatic, potent winters with record precipitation.

But as some earth scientists see a bit of 1983 or 1998 in the coming winter’s strong El Niño, they may be neglecting a new reality: A stormy, wet El Niño of that vintage hasn’t struck California this century.

University of California, Irvine, earth system science professor Jin-Yi Yu, whose doubts about a predicted “Godzilla El Niño” in 2015-16 were confirmed, sees the phenomenon permanently changed.

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