by JULIAN BARCENAS
If you are a resident living in the United States and have been keeping up with the news, you have heard about “El Nino”. El Nino is the warm phase of a recurring climate pattern across the tropical Pacific. The pattern can shift back and forth regularly every two to seven years, and each phase triggers unpredictable disruptions of temperature, precipitation, and wind. These changes disrupt the large scale air movements in the tropics, triggering a lot of global side effects. During the months of February through April, the northern part of America will be a little more dry than usual and the southern side will experience a little more wet weather than usual. Above-average temperatures are expected in the North and West, and below-average temperatures are expected in the southern Plains and along the Gulf Coast. El Nino has its strongest impact on global climate during the Northern Hemisphere winter & early spring. The most reliable global impacts are dryness over Indonesia and northern South America, below-average rains during the Indian Monsoon, and excess rainfall in southeastern South America. Eastern Africa near the equator, and across the southern U.S. El Nino remains strong, with continued warmth in the surface waters of the east-central tropical Pacific and wind and rainfall disruptions. El Nino is likely to become neutral by late spring or early summer 2016, with a possible shift to La Nina in the fall.