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El Niño Officially Declared for 2015

Just when everyone had pretty much written it off, the El Niño event that has been nearly a year in the offing finally emerged in February and could last through the spring and summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced Thursday. This isn’t the blockbuster, 1998 repeat El Niño many anticipated when the first hints of an impending event emerged about a year ago. This El Niño has just crept across the official threshold, so it won’t be a strong event. “We’re basically declaring El Niño,” NOAA forecaster Michelle L’Heureux said. “It’s unfortunate we can’t declare a weak El Niño.” In part because of its weakness, as well as its unusual timing, the El Niño isn’t expected to have much impact on U.S. weather patterns, nor bring much relief for drought-stricken California. But forecasters say it could nudge weather patterns in other areas of the globe, especially if it persists or intensifies, and could boost global temperatures—following a 2014 that was already the hottest year on record. “It does tilt the odds toward warmth,” L’Heureux said. More via Scientific American.

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