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RMetS Podcast - Episode 8 - El Niño: Interview with Adam Scaife

Professor Liz Bentley sits down to interview Adam Scaife, Head of Long Rang Prediction at the Met Office and Professor at Exeter University, about the El Niño and La Niña, the largest seasonal fluctuation in the Earth's atmosphere.

After the interview Liz and Chloe discuss the two conferences that we are holding in York in July - The Atmospheric Science Conference 2018 (3rd - 4th July) and The Evolution of Science: Past, Present and Future, or conference for Students and Early Career Scientists.

What is El Niño - Southern Oscillation? theWeather Club Fri, 08/06/2018 - 09:53

What is El Niño? 

The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a large-scale climatic phenomenon that originates in the tropical Pacific but affects global climate patterns. The warm phase is known as El Niño and the cold phase is La Niña. El Niño occurs irregularly every two to seven years and peaks around in winter. 

What causes an El Niño event?

Tropical Cyclones Sagar and Mekunu hitting the Middle East

Two tropical storms affected the Middle East in the past weeks. Cyclone Sagar developed in the Gulf of Aden, between Yemen and Somalia on May, 16. It caused heavy rains and flash flooding after hitting Djibouti on May, 19. A total of 110 mm of rain was recorded on May 19-20, which corresponds to the average rainfall for the entire year. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), two people are reported to have died and between 25,000 and 50,000 people have been affected by the flooding.

World weather review: April 2018

The global surface temperatures of April 2018 were close to 0.5 °C above average compared to the reference period of 1981-2010. Although Europe was still experiencing cold, wet and windy conditions in early April, the month averaged out to be the warmest European April on record. The anomaly map below shows the temperature difference of April compared to the reference period of 1981-2010, with it notably warm over central parts of Europe.

UK weather review: April 2018

April was warmer than average for most places of the UK. The month started with cold, wet and windy conditions continuing the weather pattern dominant in March. From mid-April, high pressure near the UK brought warm spells of air from the south. The hottest day in April since 1949 was recorded at St James's Park in London on 19 April reaching a maximum temperature of 29.1 °C. However, sunshine levels remained below average except in Scotland. From 22 April unsettled colder weather returned and temperatures dropped towards the end of the month again.

Unprecedented weakening of North Atlantic circulation

The warm, saline waters of the Gulf Stream meander northeasterly across the Atlantic Ocean, eventually forming the North Atlantic Current.  During winter, these salty waters cool and descend – it is this deep convection that is a key part of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC), the ocean conveyor belt. This conveyor belt is essential for heat exchange between the ocean and the atmosphere - it releases heat into the atmosphere above the North Atlantic Ocean then travels through the ocean, resurfacing in other areas of the world.