El Nino conditions begin across the globe

File photo of swimmers in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru earlier in 2023. The Climate Prediction Center on Thursday declared El Nino conditions have developed globally. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd, File) (Rodrigo Abd, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Meteorologists at the Climate Prediction Center declared an El Nino has started Thursday morning.

Warmer than average water temps have persisted off the coast of Peru and the central Pacific, indicating an El Nino is fully underway.

What exactly is El Nino?

El Nino conditions develop when water temps in the central Pacific stay above average for a prolonged period of time.

These abnormal water temps develop for thousands of miles, stretching from the coast of Peru to the open waters of the Pacific Ocean.

Well above average water temps in the Pacific have led to the declaration of an El Nino.

These elevated water temps were observed thousands of years ago, but it is now known El Nino creates different weather patterns around the globe.

How long will El Nino last?

The increased temperatures in the Pacific have been fairly dramatic the last several weeks, an indication a strong El Nino may be developing.

There are indications this El Nino cycle will last through the fall and likely into early 2024.

The Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an 84% chance of a moderate El Nino late this year, with a 56% chance of a strong El Nino.

There is a chance the El Nino will dwindle moving into the end of the year, but meteorologists say that is highly unlikely.

The last El Nino was in late 2018. It was classified as a weak El Nino and lasted less than a year.

What are the El Nino impacts locally?

While these warmer waters are thousands of miles away from Southeast Georgia and Northeast Florida, El Nino will likely create big impacts in our area.

The first will be creating wind shear in the tropical Atlantic.

This wind shear will likely increase as the summer progresses. This wind shear will help reduce the number and intensity of tropical storms and hurricanes this year.

El Nino conditions help suppress tropical activity by creating wind shear in the Atlantic.

As we move into the late fall and winter months, the jet stream will begin to shift fairly dramatically.

During an El Nino, the Pacific jet stream will shift into southern California and across the southern U.S., including Georgia and Florida.

This will likely result in an active fall and winter, with storm systems impacting the area, producing clouds and rain.

El Nino conditions result in a wet and active winter pattern in SE Georgia and NE Florida.

The threat of severe weather may also be higher later this winter due to the jet stream roaring over the region.

With El Nino now underway, weather patterns will change globally for the remainder of 2023. This will result in some big changes for the region that will likely last into 2024.

About the Author:

David Heckard is The Weather Authority's Assistant Chief Meteorologist.