Many media stories have focused on either climate change or El Niño as an explanation for why the North Pacific Ocean is so warm this year. Yesterday this blog discussed one of the consequences of the warm water–the record-setting tropical season in the Pacific Ocean this year, which has far surpassed previous seasons in the number and energy of the storms.
But the story is really more complicated than that. Jon Schwartz of the New York Times published an article earlier this week discussing all of the different climate cycles which are affecting ocean temperatures. They interact at different time and space scales and affect weather not only along the West Coast states but also the larger weather patterns which can affect us here in the Southeast too. Scientists are continuing to study this ever-changing face of the world’s largest body of water to see what future climate (on many different time scales) is likely to be.