The El Niño of early 2019 is officially dead.
El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a climate phase that might have influenced snow falling during this year’s ski season in Colorado, has completely ended and transitioned into a neutral stage also known as ENSO-neutral, meaning sea surface temperatures are normal in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
According to a recent blog post from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), average winds, cloudiness, and rainfall over the Pacific indicate neutral conditions have returned and El Niño has come to an end. Beyond neutral trending tropical atmospheric conditions, the July Niño 3.4 index has also dropped below the El Niño threshold of 0.5°C for the first time since last September.
While there’s still about a 30% chance of El Niño conditions to persist through the upcoming winter, neutral conditions are most likely to continue. This means neither El Niño or La Niña is present. When an El Niño occurs, water temperatures are warm and parts of the region typically see warmer or cooler temperatures, as well as more precipitation than usual. Now that it’s gone, Colorado could see a calmer winter season ahead.
Don’t give up hope just yet though. A recent report from the Denver Post, states that three out of the last five ENSO-neutral winters have seen above-average Colorado statewide snowpack based on official figures from the National Resources Conservation Service. It’s also possible for an El Niño to end in the spring or summer and return again in the following fall.
For more information, click here.
What We Believe
We are driven by our deep respect for our environment, and our passionate commitment to sustainable tourism and conservation. We believe in the right for everyone - from all backgrounds and cultures - to enjoy our natural world, and we believe that we must all do so responsibly. Learn More