The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has announced that 2015-2016’s 15-month, record-breaking El Niño is over, with a 75 percent possibility for La Niña conditions to form in the Pacific Ocean by the end of autumn.
"There’s nothing left," explains NOAA Climate Prediction Center deputy director Mike Halpert. "Stick a fork in it, it’s done."
This past cycle saw record-breaking temperatures around the globe, making 2015 the hottest year on record, and setting up 2016 to break that record. It also contributed to a record hurricane season in the Pacific, and droughts in Africa and India. Massive coral bleaching and numerous red tide events, caused by high water temperatures, marred the year as well.
While this El Niño brought some rain to the U.S. Southwest, it failed to end the four-year-long drought being experienced in that region. Unfortunately, La Niña conditions tend to bring dry weather to that region, potentially prolonging the situation there, although it tends to bring wetter conditions to the Northwest. Conversely, La Niña also tends to bring more hurricanes to the Atlantic, making for a potentially hectic storm season this year.