While I’ve been away, my friends back in Albuquerque were kind enough to print a bunch of copies of my ruminations on La Niña and the Rio Grande and throw them on people’s driveways this morning (sub/ad req):
[M]ore than La Niña is at work this year, according to Glen MacDonald, a climate researcher at the University of California Los Angeles.
Beyond La Niña, in the equatorial Pacific, researchers like MacDonald have been watching two other large-scale ocean patterns that also seen to have their own influences on North American droughts.
One is a long-term, persistent pattern of warmer water in the north Pacific. The second involves vast stretches of warm water in the north Atlantic. This year, they all seem to be lined up alongside La Niña, ganging up in a worst case scenario for drought in the Southwest, MacDonald told me.
When all three are in sync, according to MacDonald, “the propensity for drought indeed extends east from California right across your region to Texas.”
The most famous case of oceans in sync like this was during the heart of the drought of the 1950s — New Mexico’s worst in the last century.