The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has released their prediction that the El Niño cycle currently being experienced in the Pacific Ocean will have it’s greatest impact on the United States early in 2016. NASA is also predicting that this cycle, forecast to be a back-to-back El Niño, will surpass the previous 1997-98 record holder.

Using sea surface height data gathered by satellites, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory says that while the ’97-98 event peaked in November of 1997, Pacific waters continued to warm through December 2015, indicating that the cycle’s peak had not yet been seen. 

El Niño events pump large amounts of heat and moisture into the atmosphere, affecting the jet stream and storm systems around the globe. This year saw an increase in rain and snow on the west coast, previously suffering from a multi-year drought. The snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains has been reported at a depth that is 136 percent deeper than normal.

This "Godzilla El Nino," as this cycle was called by one climatologist, is also being blamed for the record-breaking temperatures experienced by the eastern half of North America over the Christmas holidays.

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