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    • This is an interesting correlation. I don't know what the winter sea water temperatures have been like but over summer New Zealand sea water was warmer than usual.

      "If winter and spring sea surface temperatures around New Zealand are below average, chances are it's going to rain in the south-west United States (SWUS) in three months' time.

      It seems the two climate features are connected, with the link particularly strong with southern parts of the SWUS.

      Researchers from the University of California, Irvine explain the link - apparently via a "a western Pacific ocean-atmosphere pathway" - in a paper recently published in Nature Communications.

      Predicting rainfall in the SWUS was challenging, and had significant implications for the economy, water security and ecosystem management, the paper said. With climate change expected to modify precipitation patterns, the need for improved seasonal and even sub-seasonal predictive skill became critical.

      The discovery is important because weather patterns, such as El Nino, that have been used up to now to predict rainfall in the SWUS - California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah - aren't great, and are becoming less accurate.

      On the other hand, the link - or "teleconnection" - between the rainfall and what's being called the "New Zealand Index" has been growing stronger over the past four decades. It also allows predictions to be made three months before the rain starts falling."

      Read the full article:

    • That's quite fascinating. I remember that during the 2016-2017 winter here in California, we got incredible amounts of snowfall. It was so amazing after 4 years of drought. We had some vague notion that maybe climate change had something to do with it.

      What was encouraging is we heard predictions before the season started that rainfall would be heavy because El Nino. That sounded more specific even though I didn't fully understand it. Then the next season was back to drought. Weird.

      So this is particularly fascinating and you would think that the industries who depend on precipitation, like the winter ski resorts, would have incredible interest in this.

      👇This is my van two seasons ago when El Nino saved us.

    • Yep well aware of El Nino and La Nina, but actually as the article goes on the say these models are getting less and less accurate and this new 'New Zealand index' is more accurate.

    • Here's a key quote (SWUS means Southwestern US):

      Winter precipitation in the SWUS has been linked to several climate modes, including the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), with limited predictive ability. Here we report evidence that late-summer sea surface temperature and geopotential height anomalies close to New Zealand exhibit higher correlation with SWUS winter precipitation than ENSO, enhancing the potential for earlier and more accurate prediction.