What is El Niño?
El Niño and La Niña are the warm and cool phases of a recurring climate pattern across the tropical Pacific—the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, or “ENSO” for short.
The pattern can shift back and forth irregularly every two to seven years, and each phase triggers predictable disruptions of temperature, precipitation, and winds.
These changes disrupt the large-scale air movements in the tropics, triggering a cascade of global side effects. In our case, about 10 years overdue! With the last recorded El Niño being in 1998.
Today is March 7th 2016… I knew it was going to be a great year. Little did I know that it would be perfect, especially for a surf photographer.
As I begin to write this short article, I realize that this is the first day in over 2 months that I have not gone to the beach for perfect surf. This is the first time the surf hasn't been "good" since the year started.
With El Niño showing up fashionably late, it has brought what Surfline calls "A Godzilla El Nino." Which has been brewing up nonstop mega swells creating some of the biggest and best surf recorded in the North Pacific. All of the Big Wave Spots like Mavericks, Jaws, Todos Santos, and Waimea Bay have had what most would say "the biggest and best surf I've ever seen" at all of these monstrous mutants. Not just big, but maintaining absolute perfection. Even The Eddie Aikau Contest at Waimea Bay went down this year. The Eddie hadn''t had a green light in 6 years.
Normally I would be in Hawaii this time of year. But with all the back to back to back to back mega swells funneling in during January/February, I haven't even had a thought about leaving.
The Weather/Southern California Drought
While the beginning of the year brought us more rain than the past 3 years combined. It still isn't enough to tap into our serious drought issue. After the rains in early January, the weather has felt like summer ever since. (Photo Proof to the right)
However California is in for a very wet spring season. In part due to the influence of El Niño, there is an increased chance that Feb–Apr will be wetter than usual across the southern tier of the United States, and drier than usual over the northern tier. Above-average temperatures are favored in the North and West, and below-average temperatures are favored in the southern Plains and along the Gulf Coast.
Stay tuned as the weather pattern looks to be bringing in a lot of rain (and Swell) within these next few weeks. For now thanks for reading and drive safe.