Warm Waters Across the Globe
As we have stated many times in other postings, the oceans have a tremendous impact on the weather across the globe. Pockets of warm and cold water can alter the jet stream pattern, alter precipitation patterns, etc.
Even the most subtle of changes in water temperatures can lead to significant changes in day to day weather patterns and trends across the globe. Keeping an eye on changing water temperatures across the globe and especially in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans is critical to understanding long range weather pattern trends across the United States.
The graphic below shows the current sea surface temperature anomalies (SST) as of August 31, 2015. The areas showing yellow to orange to red highlight areas of warmer than normal water temperatures, while blue and green areas highlight below normal water temperatures. White areas highlight areas of sea ice.
Of interest for beef producers across the United States the three areas of above normal temperatures in the Pacific. The first area of interest is the east to west band of warmer water between South America and areas to the east of Australia. This is the area where a strong El Nino has formed. This area of warmer water will drive the El Nino pattern this winter bringing increased rain to southern California, the Desert Southeast and all of the southern states. It will also result in a warmer and drier than normal weather pattern to the Pacific Northwest.
The second area of interest is the warm pool just west of Baja of California. This area of warm water will help develop more tropical storms and hurricanes in the eastern Pacific through early fall. Mexico could see increased rain this fall, as well portions of the Desert Southwest. This warm pool will also keep fall temperatures in the far west warm.
The third area of warmer water is off the west coast of Canada and in an area south of the Gulf of Alaska. This has been a very persistent warm pool for the past three years. This area of warm water will help cause high pressure to develop in western Canada this winter, which will in turn drive cold air south into the central and eastern U.S. this winter (much like it has over the past two winters).
Overall sea surface temperatures are warm across the globe (one reason that 2015 will end up as a warm year globally). However, notice the cold pool forming in the North Atlantic, this will impact the weather in Europe this winter (and will lead to increased sea ice in the northern hemisphere this winter).
Although the water temperatures are warm this year (especially in the Pacific) expect Mother Nature to right the ship and water temperatures to begin a cooling trend next year that will accelerate into 2017.