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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

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El Ni?o winds to bring a wet winter

Provided
Change in tempterature near the equator should cause Texas to have a cooler, wetter winter than average.
 
Provided Change in tempterature near the equator should cause Texas to have a cooler, wetter winter than average.  

Texas could be in for a wet winter as El Niño approaches the state once again.
El Niño, also known as the Southern Oscillation, is a change of winds that affects the position of jet streams in winter, which causes an increase in the temperature of the ocean near the equator, said John Nielsen-Gammon, meteorology professor. Because of the change in temperature near the equator, Texas is expected to have a cooler and wetter winter than average.
Coryn Collins, meteorology senior and undergraduate researcher of El Niño, said other weather systems like thunderstorms, hurricanes and pressure systems can all form on a day-to-day basis depending on local disturbances, but El Niño is a reoccurring pattern that affects a large portion of the planet.
Jason Plushnick, chief meteorologist at KAGS, said El Niño is also unique in the way it affects other storm systems.
“El Niño hampers the development of tropical storms and hurricanes in the Atlantic basin, which means that many of the storms that threaten Texas would likely not be able to form,” Plushnick said.
El Niño hasn’t affected Texas since the winter of 2009. Since then, Plushnick said the state has been wrought with drought and another climate system called La Niña.
Collins said the chance of El Niño ending the drought this year will depend on its strength.
“This depends on several factors,” Collins said. “The stronger the El Niño episode, the stronger its effects become. However, just because these effects are correlated with an El Niño episode does not mean they will certainly happen. If this episode in particular is a weak El Niño, it may in fact bring wetter-than-average conditions, but with a pre-existing drought that may not be helpful at all.”
Plushnick said the promise of rain is enough to excite both the farming and recreational community as more rain means more water for crops and Texas lakes, which could improve conditions next summer.
Collins said students should strive to learn more about El Niño.
“In terms of daily weather, it doesn’t affect us day to day,” Collins said, “but it does affect the climatology of Texas,which is obviously of great importance.”

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