Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

El Nino to Sap Storms, Warm Winter

By Aussiegirl

Well, forget the dire forecasts. Paging Al Gore -- no doom and gloom this hurricane season. A new El Nino is set to give us a mild winter. Grey is one of the many climatologists that does not believe warming is due to man's activities, but merely a natural fluctuation of the climate.

El Nino to Sap Storms, Warm Winter (Breaking News) | SmartMoney.com

Blaming faster-than-expected El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean, forecasters at Colorado State University on Tuesday repeated their call for below-average storm activity during the rest of the Atlantic hurricane season.

"Typically, El Nino conditions put an early end to hurricane formation in the Atlantic basin," said William Gray, a hurricane forecaster with the closely watched forecasting team at Colorado State. "This year, El Nino has developed faster than almost anyone predicted."

El Nino is a weather phenomenon involving unusually warm surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean that can have profound consequences for climate, including warm and very wet summers in South America and warmer-than-normal winters in parts of North America.

Gray, in a telephone interview, described the current El Nino as "weak to moderate" compared with 1997-98 phenomenon, which was the strongest on record and helped sink oil prices.

That El Nino, which slashed heating fuel demand in the Northern Hemisphere, occurred just as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced an increase in oil production quotas that proved ill-timed as it corresponded with the start of the Asian economic crisis. Crude oil prices plunged to near $11 a barrel and didn't recover for two years.

[...]Gray, who strongly rejects any link between global warming and the stronger the normal hurricane seasons of 2004 and 2005, said the U.S. remains within a long-term cyclical range of intense hurricane activity.

"It's just the way nature works," he said. "We've been in this cycle since 1995 and we probably have 15 to 20 years to go, but not every year is going to be" more active than normal.

He said the current El Nino may run its course by next summer and next year's hurricane season could again be intense.


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