October 2023 El Niño update: big cats | NOAA Climate.gov – Climate.gov

El Niño is currently purring along in the tropical Pacific. Forecasters expect El Niño will continue through the spring, with a 75-85% chance it will become a strong event. A stronger El Niño—definition to follow shortly—means it is more likely that we will see El Niño’s expected thumbprint on winter temperature and rain/snow patterns around the world.
First, the numbers. Our primary metric for the growth of El Niño is the temperature of the ocean surface in the Niño-3.4 region, a box in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific. Specifically, the anomaly, the difference of this temperature from the long-term average (long-term = 1991–2020). (Why here? Several decades ago, this region was found to have the strongest relationship with tropical atmospheric changes.) In September, the Niño-3.4 Index was 1.6 °C (2.9 °F), according to the ERSSTv5, our most reliable sea surface temperature dataset.
2-year history of sea surface temperatures in the Niño-3.4 region of the tropical Pacific for all events evolving into El Niño since 1950 (gray lines) and the current event (purple line). NOAA Climate.gov image based on a graph by Emily Becker and monthly Niño-3.4 index data from CPC using ERSSTv5.
El Niño is a coupled system, meaning the ocean and the tropical atmosphere are working together to continue and grow the El Niño event. The average air circulation pattern over the tropical Pacific, called the Walker circulation, brings rising air, clouds, and storms over the very warm water of the far western Pacific, west-to-east winds high up in the atmosphere, descending air over the eastern Pacific, and the east-to-west surface winds called the trade winds. In the case of El Niño, the warmer-than-average surface water in the central-eastern Pacific leads to more rising air over that region, weakening the Walker circulation.
The atmospheric half of El Niño is clearly showing its stripes. All the signs of a weakened Walker circulation are present, including more rain and clouds over the central-eastern Pacific, slower trade winds and upper-level winds, and drier conditions in Indonesia and the far western Pacific. Taken collectively, the ocean surface and the atmospheric conditions tell us that El Niño will stick around for the next few months at least.
September 2023 sea surface temperature difference from the 1985-1993 average (details from Coral Reef Watch). Much of the global oceans are warmer than average. NOAA Climate.gov image from Data Snapshots.
Since we’re sure El Niño will be operating into the winter, the next question is “how strong will it get?” Strength definitions, which usually also use the Niño-3.4 Index, are unofficial, since it’s not like an El Niño with a peak Niño-3.4 Index of 1.5 °C is going to have noticeably different impacts than one with a peak Niño-3.4 Index of 1.4 °C. However, as I mentioned above, the stronger the El Niño, the more likely it will affect global temperature and rain/snow patterns in expected ways. This is because a larger sea surface temperature change leads to a larger shift in the Walker circulation, making it more likely that El Niño will affect the jet stream and cause a cascade of global impacts.
The unofficial definition of a strong El Niño is a peak 3-month-average Niño-3.4 Index of at least 1.5 °C. El Niño is a seasonal phenomenon, and that 3-month-average Niño-3.4 Index (called the Oceanic Niño Index or ONI) is important for making sure that the oceanic and atmospheric changes persist long enough to affect global weather and climate. A peak ONI of 2.0 °C or more is considered “historically strong,” or “very strong.” We’ve only seen four of these in our historical record, dating back to 1950.
Forecasters give this event a high chance of qualifying as a strong event, based on our climate model predictions and the current conditions. “Hey wait,” you’re saying. “Isn’t the September Niño-3.4 Index already 1.6 °C?” And indeed it is, but the 3-month-average for July–September was 1.3 °C. That said, we have a 75% chance that the ONI will reach or exceed 1.5 °C in November­–January (typically the peak season).  We actually have a slightly higher chance, 83%, that we will reach that threshold in September-November, which is on our doorstep.
So how about peaking at or above 2.0 °C? Forecasters give that around a 3-in-10 chance for November­–January. The climate models have a fairly wide range of potential outcomes—if they were concentrated above 2.0 °C, we’d probably be able to give more confident chances. Also, while there is still a good amount of heat under the surface of the Pacific—this warmer water provides a source to the surface—it’s not quite at the level we’ve seen during previous historically strong El Niños like 1982–83, 1997–98, or 2015–16.
Each dot on this scatterplot shows the subsurface temperature anomaly (difference from the long-term average) in the central tropical Pacific each September (horizontal axis) since 1979 versus the oceanic ENSO conditions the following November–January (vertical axis). The vertical red line show the September 2023 subsurface temperature anomaly. The amount of warmer-than-average water under the surface in September has a strong relationship with the oceanic ENSO conditions later in the year. Previous very strong El Niño events, 1982–83,1997–98, and 2015–16, had more subsurface warm water than 2023. Data from CPC, image by Climate.gov.
This is a small sample of very strong events, though, and the current moderate subsurface temperature certainly doesn’t preclude this event peaking above 2.0 °C. It just contributes to a tempering of the odds.
One more thing I wanted to cover this month—the temperature of the global oceans is still running way above average, with startling records in recent months.
Non-polar (60 °N – 60 °S) global averaged sea surface temperature from 1982-2023 from (top) daily OISSTv2.1 and (bottom) monthly ERSSTv5 datasets. The thick black lines represent the 1982-2011 average across the calendar year; 2022 (orange line), 2023 (thick red line), and 2016 (the year of record warmth before 2023; thin red line) are highlighted. The thin grey lines represent all other years. Both graphs indicate that the last few months have experienced record global ocean warmth. NOAA Climate.gov image based on graphs by Boyin Huang and data from NCEI.
We last featured these graphs, kindly provided by Dr. Boyin Huang of the National Centers for Environmental Information, in May. They show two different datasets, one with daily values and one with monthly averages. Whenever we see something really extraordinary, like the recent records, we want to be sure it’s not a data error. Checking two different datasets provides confirmation that this is a real feature.
The extreme warmth in the global oceans—also noticeable in the map I showed above—means this El Niño is operating in a different world than earlier El Niño events. For example, the Atlantic hurricane season is often on the quieter side overall during El Niño, but this year has already seen an active season, with 18 named storms, as the very warm North Atlantic Ocean has provided lots of fuel.
We’re never going to sleep on the ENSO job! Check back later this month for a post on El Niño and snowfall patterns, and I’ll be back in November to update you on all things El Niño.
Looking back on the accumulated data can we tie El Nino to the tremendous rains received in New Engalnd that is having a dramatic effect on our Fall Colors
Submitted by Jeff Foliage on Thu, 10/12/2023 – 11:54
More likely than not, that was simply a result of our random atmosphere as opposed to El Nino as the culprit. 
Submitted by tom.diliberto on Mon, 10/16/2023 – 21:34
In reply to by Jeff Foliage
Congratulations on getting selected to be part of NOAA’s contingent at COP28 this year!  
Submitted by Matt on Thu, 11/30/2023 – 19:38
In reply to by tom.diliberto
On Tom’s behalf: Thanks!!
Submitted by emily.becker on Fri, 12/01/2023 – 13:55
In reply to by Matt
Hello, I am aware of SST but on this post you have subsurface temperature. Is this some kind of feline synonym or there is a fox in the story?
Thank you,
Pierre
Submitted by Pierre on Thu, 10/12/2023 – 15:54
Scientists break down the ocean into all sorts of CAT-egories when looking at El Nino.
 
Subsurface temperatures (temperatures at depth in the ocean) help scientists know how much or little warmer than average water at depth that can help develop an El Nino.
Submitted by tom.diliberto on Mon, 10/16/2023 – 21:33
In reply to by Pierre
Hi there,
What is a better way to measure atmospheric coupling in ENSO? Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) or ENSO Longitude Index (ELI)?
Submitted by BOB G on Tue, 10/17/2023 – 13:16
It’s a good question! Both MEI and ELI have their proponents. For the purposes of making our forecasts, we usually consider a number of different components of atmospheric circulation, rather than one combined index like MEI or ELI. These include the EQSOI and SOI, which measure atmospheric pressure, an OLR index that tells us how cloudy various regions of the tropical Pacific are, and the low-level winds. 
Submitted by emily.becker on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 16:05
In reply to by BOB G
Thanks Emily!
Submitted by Bob G on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 16:42
In reply to by emily.becker
Thanks so much for the continued fantastic work and the data and information you make freely available to us all but please one small favour. Please can you avoid using hemisphere specific terms like winter, summer etc. when discussing global phenomena like ENSO. It’s confusing and ENSO affects even those regions with no distinct annual season, let alone those of us who hang upsidedown by our CAT-like claws in the south.
Thank you – love your work!
Submitted by Arthur on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 00:27
Thanks for this comment! I will try to be more specific in the future. ENSO is a global phenomenon, as I am constantly saying!
Submitted by emily.becker on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 15:52
In reply to by Arthur
Thank you again Emily Becker for the nuances.
Submitted by thomas john dale on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 13:28
So much dissonance when reporting the El Nino winter forecast for northern New England. NOAA, the Farmer’s Almanac, weather channels, et al. are all equally useless to plan on. I am looking at the tea leaves as we speak.
Submitted by Lou on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 14:19
There is has been more online chatter about a CP event or Modoki event developing over winter. I haven’t really seen the SSTs forecasted that way over winter. What do you think?
Submitted by Bob G on Tue, 10/24/2023 – 14:55
The dynamical guidance I have looked at has not favored a CP/Modoki flavor to this El Nino. Actually, the maximum sea surface temperature anomalies have been located east of the average El Nino max location, which is not unusual for stronger events. We’ll see if the guidance changes when the new forecast runs come out in a little over a week, but for now, I do not see an obvious reason why a CP/Modoki flavor should be favored.
Submitted by Nathaniel.Johnson on Wed, 10/25/2023 – 11:46
In reply to by Bob G
Thanks Nathaniel!!
Submitted by Robert Granelli on Wed, 10/25/2023 – 16:03
In reply to by Nathaniel.Johnson
In order to have an impact with El Nino a positive PDO has to be present. I don’t understand why NOAA doesn’t consider this teleconnection in their ENSO forecast ? In the last El Nino 2014- 16 we had quite an impact here in Kentucky. The PDO went strongly positive in 2014 long before a very strong El Nino formed in 2015 -16. Now the PDO is still strongly negative which is giving our area along with the rest of the country La Nina like weather pattern. What gives ? I don’t want to learn that the PDO lags behind El Nino latter in the Winter. Not true.
Submitted by Stephen S. on Thu, 10/26/2023 – 06:48
El Nino and the positive PDO often go hand in hand, and the positive PDO is a sign that the North Pacific atmospheric anomalies are consistent with the expected midlatitude response to El Nino. So, I see that it would make sense that the expected impacts of El Nino downstream of the North Pacific in the U.S. tend to accompany a positive PDO. However, this correlation does not prove that the North Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies independent of El Nino that are tied to the PDO are a major cause of the El Nino impacts. There have been many studies investigating the impact of extratropical sea surface temperature anomalies, like those of the PDO, on the atmospheric circulation, and these studies consistently show that the atmospheric response is much weaker and more uncertain than the response to the tropical sea surface temperature anomalies associated with El Nino. 
That doesn’t mean that the PDO has no impact or that this year could be a unique case where the extratropical sea surface temperature anomalies have an outsized impact on U.S. climate. But even if that’s the case, we have to remember that this is the ENSO Blog, and NOAA forecasters making ENSO forecasts are not focused on the ENSO teleconnections or the potential interference by other climate drivers. If the PDO or any other climate driver is expected to impact seasonal climate anomalies over the U.S., then this would be covered in CPC’s seasonal outlooks
Submitted by Nathaniel.Johnson on Thu, 10/26/2023 – 10:22
In reply to by Stephen S.

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Environmental protection expenditure – European Environment Agency

All official European Union website addresses are in the europa.eu domain.

The EU must increase environment- and climate-related expenditure to meet the objectives of the European Green Deal. Environmental protection expenditure (EPE) mainly includes expenditure related to the abatement of air, water, soil and noise pollution, the protection of biodiversity, the management of wastewater and waste, and environmental research and development. In real terms, the expenditure increased by 7% between 2018 and 2022 in the EU, reaching EUR 278 billion in 2022. It is very likely that it will continue to increase in the coming years, as additional funds will be made available.
Building on the European Green Deal policy objectives , the Eighth Environment Action Programme (8th EAP) aims to accelerate the green transition . To achieve this, environmental protection expenditure (EPE) must be increased in the Member States, and so must green expenditure beyond that directly related to environmental protection, such as expenditure on renewables, energy and resource efficiency, and the circular economy transition. EPE includes expenditure on the protection of ambient air, soil and water; wastewater and waste management; noise abatement; biodiversity protection; protection against radiation; and environmental research and development (R&D). EPE only partly captures expenditure related to the climate-related expenditure and the circular economy .
EPE includes both operating expenditure and investments. In real terms, it grew by 7% in the period 2018-2022, reaching an estimated EUR 278 billion by 2022 (2010 prices). Most EPE is spent by corporations, and this spending increased by 9% between 2018 and 2022, while the EPE of general governments and non-profit institutions serving households increased by 8%. Most EPE was spent on waste management and wastewater treatment activities in this period .
Since 2018, the share of overall EPE in gross domestic product (GDP) has remained relatively stable, at around 2%. The increase in this share in 2020 was an anomaly caused by the decline in GDP during the COVID-19 pandemic. In absolute terms, EPE was roughly the same in 2020 as in 2019 and increased by about 4% and EUR 11 billion (2010 prices) in 2022.
It is very likely that EPE will increase in the coming years, as additional resources have been made available. The EU’s 2021-2027 budget has earmarked additional funding for climate- and biodiversity-related activities . Moreover, grants and loans for climate-related activities are available through the 2021-2026 EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) . The RRF was created to mitigate the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and supports the EU’s aim to achieve a twin digital and green transition.
To achieve EU’s objectives on environmental protection, resource management and the circular economy by 2030 , the additional investments needed for the period 2021-2030 are estimated at approximately EUR 77 billion per year for environmental protection, as covered by EPE, and EUR 53 billion per year for resource management and the circular economy transition. It is uncertain if investments, for example in national EPE, EU funding and private circular economy financing, will increase at a fast enough rate to bridge the gap between current investment and total investment needed by 2030. For instance, environmental protection investments account for only a small share of total EPE, amounting to 20% in 2022, and increased from EUR 51 billion (2010 prices) in 2018 to EUR 56 billion (2010 prices) in 2022 (EEA’s own calculations based on data from Eurostat . InvestEU and sustainable finance actions are expected to trigger additional private capital flows in Member States for sustainable investment, which would help to fill the investment gap.
EPE increased from 2.1% to 2.3% of GDP between 2018 and 2020 at the EU level. EPE to GDP ratios varied greatly across the Member States. In Austria, Belgium and Romania EPE accounted for more than 3% of GDP, while in Ireland it accounted for less than 1%. In 21 of the 27 EU Member States, this share increased during the period 2018-2020, with the biggest increases in Poland (1 percentage point) and Malta (0.6 percentage points). In contrast, the share fell in the other EU Member States, with the biggest reductions in Lithuania and Cyprus.
‘Environmental Protection Expenditure Accounts (EPEA) measure the economic resources devoted to prevention, reduction, and elimination of pollution and any other degradation of the environment. They cover the spending by resident units of a country (i.e. by its households, corporations and government) on environmental protection (EP) services, e.g. pollution abatement (air, water, soil and noise), waste and wastewater management, protection of biodiversity as well as related research and development, education and training activities’ .

The scope of EPEA is defined according to the Classification of Environmental Protection Activities and Expenditure (CEPA 2000). CEPA 2000 is a recognised international standard included in the family of international economic and social classifications.

For further information, see Eurostat (2017).
This indicator is directly based on data published by Eurostat and the underpinning methodology can be found in Eurostat . EU-level data are based on Eurostat estimates.

The EUR values were deflated to 2010 prices using the Eurostat GDP deflator.
This indicator is a headline indicator for monitoring progress towards meeting one of the targets of the 8th EAP. It contributes mainly to monitoring progress in relation to aspects of the 8th EAP’s aim to accelerate the green transition (Article 1) and Article 3(u), which requires ‘mobilising resources and ensuring sufficient sustainable investments from public and private sources… consistent with the Union’s sustainable finance policy agenda’ . The European Commission communication on the 8th EAP monitoring framework specifies that this indicator should be used to monitor the ‘increase [in] spending by households, corporations and governments on preventing, reducing and eliminating pollution and other environmental degradation’ .
EPE is measured in billion euros (EUR) and as a share of GDP (%)

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Florida's Mangroves – Florida Department of Environmental Protection


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Mangroves are one of Florida’s true natives. They thrive in salty environments because they can obtain freshwater from saltwater. Some secrete excess salt through their leaves, while others block absorption of salt at their roots.
Florida’s estimated 600,000 acres of mangrove forests contribute to the overall health of the state’s southern coastal zone and beyond. This ecosystem traps and cycles various organic materials, chemical elements and important nutrients. Mangrove roots act not only as physical traps but provide attachment surfaces for various marine organisms. Many of these attached organisms filter water through their bodies and, in turn, trap and cycle nutrients.
The relationship between mangroves and their associated marine life cannot be overemphasized. Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans and shellfish. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster and shrimp. Florida’s important recreational and commercial fisheries would drastically decline without healthy mangrove forests.
Many animals find shelter either in the roots or branches of mangroves. Mangrove branches are rookeries, or nesting areas, for beautiful coastal birds such as brown pelicans and roseate spoonbills.
Red mangroves at Coupon Bight Aquatic Preserve
Worldwide, more than 50 species of mangroves exist. Of the three species found in Florida, the red mangrove (Rhizophora mangle) is probably the most well-known. It typically grows along the water’s edge. The red mangrove is easily identified by its tangled, reddish roots called “prop-roots.” These roots have earned mangroves the title of “walking trees.” This mangrove, in particular, appears to be standing or walking on the surface of the water.

a black mangrove colonizes the edge of a spoil island in Indian River Lagoon
The black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) usually occupies slightly higher elevations upland from the red mangrove. The black mangrove can be identified by numerous finger-like projections, called pneumatophores, that protrude from the soil around the tree’s trunk.

a close-up of a white mangrove leaves at Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
The white mangrove (Laguncularia racemosa) usually occupies the highest elevations farther upland than either the red or black mangroves. Unlike its red or black counterparts, the white mangrove has no visible aerial root systems. The easiest way to identify the white mangrove is by the leaves. They are elliptical, light yellow green and have two distinguishing glands at the base of the leaf blade where the stem starts.
All three of these species utilize a remarkable method of propagation. Seeds sprout while still on the trees and drop into the soft bottom around the base of the trees or are transported by currents and tides to other suitable locations.

Florida’s mangroves are tropical species; therefore, they are sensitive to extreme temperature fluctuations as well as subfreezing temperatures. Research indicates that salinity, water temperature, tidal fluctuations and soil also affect the growth and distribution of mangroves. They are common as far north as Cedar Key on the Gulf Coast and St. Augustine on the Atlantic Coast. Black mangroves can occur farther north in Florida than the other two species. Frequently, all three species grow intermixed.
People living along the south Florida coasts benefit many ways from mangroves. Mangrove forests protect uplands from storm winds, waves and floods. The amount of protection afforded by mangroves depends upon the width of the forest. A very narrow fringe of mangroves offers limited protection, while a wide fringe can considerably reduce wave and flood damage to landward areas by enabling overflowing water to be absorbed into the expanse of forest. Mangroves can help prevent erosion by stabilizing shorelines with their specialized root systems. Mangroves also filter water and maintain water quality and clarity.
It is true that mangroves can be naturally damaged and destroyed, but there is no doubt that human impact has been most severe. Scientists in multiple agencies, including the Florida Wildlife Research Institute, Smithsonian Institute, Florida Department of Environmental Protection and many more are studying changes in Florida’s coastal habitats. The scientists evaluate habitat changes by analyzing aerial photographs from the 1940s and 1950s and satellite imagery and aerial photography from the 1980s. Frequently the changes illustrate loss of mangrove acreage. Through researching the history of study sites, these losses are often attributed to human activities.
However, mangroves are also gaining ground along their northern Florida habitat limits. As winter cold snaps decrease, mangroves are able to expand further north into new territory. Continued evaluation of aerial images between 1984 and 2011 has shown that the Florida Atlantic Coast gained more than 3,000 acres of mangroves. All the increase occurred north of Palm Beach County and the acreage between Cape Canaveral and St. Augustine doubled. Much of these gains come at the expense of salt marsh communities. Research is ongoing to determine the impacts, both positive and negative, of this transition.
State and local regulations have been enacted to protect Florida’s mangrove forests. Local laws vary. Be sure to check with officials in your area prior to taking any action to determine if a permit is required. Learn more about state regulations.
Mangroves are one of Florida’s true natives and are part of our state heritage. It is up to us to ensure a place in Florida’s future of one of our most valuable coastal resources – mangroves.
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The Florida Department of Environmental Protection is the state’s lead agency for environmental management and stewardship – protecting our air, water and land. The vision of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is to create strong community partnerships, safeguard Florida’s natural resources and enhance its ecosystems.
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Inside California’s Fight to Fix Its Water Crisis – The New York Times

UNCHARTED WATERS
As the world warms, the state is re-examining claims to its water that have gone unchallenged for generations.

Part of a series on the causes and consequences of disappearing water.
The story of California’s water wars begins, as so many stories do in the Golden State, with gold.
The prospectors who raced westward after 1848 scoured fortunes out of mountainsides using water whisked, manically and in giant quantities, out of rivers. To impose some order on the chaos, the newcomers embedded in the state’s emerging water laws a cherished frontier principle: first come first served. The only requirement for holding on to this privileged status was to keep putting the water to work. In short, use it or lose it.
Their water rights assured, the settlers gobbled up land, laid down dams, ditches, communities. Shrewd barons turned huge estates into jackpots of grain, cattle, vegetables and citrus. California grew and grew and grew, sprouting new engines of wealth along the way: oil, Hollywood, Apple, A.I.
Yet, still today the state is at the mercy of claims to water that were staked more than a century ago, in that cooler, less crowded world. As drought and overuse sap the state’s streams and aquifers, California finds itself haunted by promises, made to generations of farmers and ranchers, of priority access to the West’s most precious resource, with scant oversight, essentially forever.
Redding
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California’s economy was built on ready access to rivers and streams.
As demand increased, cities and farms looked underground, mining the state’s aquifers.
A New York Times analysis found that decades of unrestricted pumping has left many aquifers in severe decline.
By Mira Rojanasakul/The New York Times
For many beloved products — nuts and grapes, milk and lettuce — America depends heavily on California. Its farms produce billions of dollars more each year than those in Texas, Nebraska and other states far more defined by agriculture. Water sustains jobs and livelihoods across the state’s economy, which outranks those of all but a handful of nations. Yet in no state does rainfall vary more each year, swinging between deluge and drought in a cycle that global warming is intensifying at both ends.
With so many people, plants and animals competing for this fickle bounty, water fights have shaped California at every stage of development, all the way back to its infancy as a state, when its abundance seemed limitless and settlers took it as their duty to commandeer it. Now, Californians are being forced to confront the limitations of nature’s endowment in new and urgent ways.
And so, to address this most 21st century of crises, a state that prides itself on creating the future is first reckoning with its past.
In the Central Valley, home to some of the nation’s most productive cropland, officials are taking a hard new look at water rights that date back to the 19th century. They are asking farmers to provide historical records to back their claims and using satellite data to size up who is taking river water and how much. A Times analysis of state data identified many growers who reported their use in questionable ways.
In California’s rugged north, regulators are considering throttling supplies to cattle ranchers and other users who for decades have been siphoning too much from the streams, at times in open disregard of the law, worsening a collapse in salmon populations.
And in desert highlands of the Central Coast, the state’s efforts to stop groundwater depletion have spurred two of the world’s largest carrot growers to sue all of their neighboring landowners, big and small, so they can keep pumping.
California has been regulating river flows, however imperfectly, for more than a century. But it didn’t even begin restricting groundwater extraction in a major way until a mere decade ago. Farmers in many areas must now figure out how to stay in business by using less groundwater themselves — or by ensuring their neighbors do.
“The reality is that California had a pretty soft touch in water rights administration” compared with many Western states, said E. Joaquin Esquivel, the chair of the state’s water board, California’s main regulator. “The system worked for as long as it really could.”
Climate change is only deepening the strains on the state’s rivers, which are essential to cities and farms alike. In dry years, less snow is piling up in the mountains to feed them. And more of what does flow downriver ends up evaporating, soaking into parched topsoil or being pulled into the ground as farmers pump out the aquifers.
How California manages could have ramifications well beyond occasional curbs on watering lawns. In the San Joaquin Valley, the Central Valley’s enormous southern half, researchers estimate that more than half a million acres of farmland may need to be taken out of cultivation by 2040 to stabilize the region’s aquifers.
California is hardly the only place where people are reconciling with choices made generations ago about land, water and other shared resources. A Times data investigation this year found groundwater in distress nationwide and exposed a broad failure to address exploitation or even reliably track water use. Yet, few places have wrested such immense riches out of their natural inheritance as California has. New choices about how to share that inheritance might not be able to avoid cutting into one pot of riches or another.
“We can’t fix it without stepping on toes,” said David Webb, who has worked for decades to protect the Shasta River in California’s far north, one of many overworked streams statewide. Come summertime, it’s not unheard of that ranches and farms all but drain the Shasta to a trickle.
Nowhere do the strands of California water history get tangled into trickier knots than in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the vast fertile estuary where the main rivers that nourish the Central Valley pour into the San Francisco Bay, then out to sea.
Mr. Esquivel, the water board’s chair, called the Delta “our most wicked of problems.”
The heart of it is that many of the area’s farms and irrigation districts have been drawing from the Delta’s braided channels for well over a century, before the state even had a water board. This gives them extraordinary privilege in California’s seniority-based system: When there isn’t enough water to go around, they get first dibs. And for a long time, a lot of them didn’t have to provide the state with many details about how much water they actually used.
That is starting to change. Not only is the water board demanding more information from growers on their use, but it’s also starting this year to use satellite analysis that estimates how much evaporates from their fields, a powerful check on farmers’ claims.
All of this is helping the state form a clearer picture of where water goes in the Delta.
Yet growers’ self-reported numbers still contain peculiarities, suggesting that many are probably submitting ballpark estimates rather than precise measurements. The Times analyzed state data from 2010 to 2022 and found that monthly use reports associated with about a quarter of Delta water rights contained a significant share of duplicates — identical numbers, over and over, for months. Sometimes years.
Ed Zuckerman: “We will fight it to our last breath.”
Another issue: Many Delta growers claim not just one water right, but several. California’s use-it-or-lose-it system provides an incentive for them to report using more water than they actually do, or even to count the same use under more than one claimed water right.
Faulty or misleading data can have far-reaching consequences during drought. If lots of growers are double-counting their use, then officials may think less water is available for everybody else than there actually is.
David Weisenberger, the general manager of the Banta-Carbona Irrigation District, which claims rights on the San Joaquin River that date back to 1911, said he double-reported the district’s use for years to avoid losing its water rights.
Recently, he began providing more accurate accounting after the water board’s lawyers assured him that he wouldn’t be forfeiting the district’s rights by doing so. But part of him still worries about future cuts.
“Who knows what they’ll do?” he said on a recent bright morning, driving past neat rows of grapes in his district’s patch of the Delta.
Mr. Weisenberger’s father grew beans and grain in the Central Valley. His grandfather raised cattle. Water disputes used to be handled locally, he said. If someone didn’t think they were getting their rightful share, they would go talk to whoever might be taking too much upriver. Maybe they’d sue.
Neighbors held neighbors accountable, Mr. Weisenberger said, so state officials had no need to know how much water everybody was taking. Today, though, “they’re headed in the direction of ‘God squad’ — they know better than anybody,” he said.
Already in California’s most recent droughts, the board has used new data and analysis techniques to justify deploying aggressive emergency orders to stop thousands of growers in the Delta watershed from taking water. “Emergency regulations don’t leave any room for due process,” Ed Zuckerman, a third-generation Delta farmer, said. “We will fight it to our last breath.”
So far, though, it isn’t the Delta where the board’s efforts have prompted the fiercest complaints. Or the most blatant defiance.
Follow the Sacramento River 200 miles upstream, past its headwaters in the shadow of Mount Shasta, and you start to feel about as far from California’s coastal centers of influence as you would on Mars.
Morning mists hover in the pine-perfumed air. Cattle graze on lush mountain meadows. This is a proudly independent-minded corner of the state, with an on-again, off-again history of trying to secede from it.
It’s here that the water board this year began contemplating a quietly explosive policy: To protect the imperiled salmon that spawn in the Scott and Shasta Rivers, it is considering permanently limiting ranchers’ access to the streams, effectively circumscribing their long-established water rights. The board has done this in both rivers during California’s latest droughts. Now it might restrict their use for good, drought or no drought.
For decades, ranches and farms have been slurping the Shasta and Scott down to small fractions of their natural flows in dry years. Migrations of Chinook and coho salmon have plummeted, harming the Native American communities whose diet and culture center on the fish.
The problem received a burst of fresh attention in the severely dry summer of 2022, when some ranchers in the Shasta Valley flouted state orders to limit water use. To save their herds, they turned on their pumps. The river’s flows quickly dropped by more than half.
For eight days, this continued. And the water board was powerless to do anything but impose its largest possible punishment: a fine of $500 per day of illegal diversion, split between the 80 or so scofflaws. In other words, $50 each, a paltry price to pay.
The ranchers Theodora and Dave Johnson.
Chinook salmon in the Scott River.
Grazing in the Scott Valley.
Tailings near the Scott River, a legacy of gold mining.
In response, state lawmakers have put forth a bill that would increase penalties to $10,000 a day.
Mr. Esquivel, the water board’s chair, called stronger salmon protections “long overdue.” When it comes to the state’s treatment of the Karuk, Yurok and other tribes, “there’s a history that has to be acknowledged,” he said.
Economic development has transformed California’s northernmost landscapes in great waves. Fur trappers decimated the beavers. Loggers sawed through old-growth forests. Miners dredged the Scott River in pursuit of gold, creating a 600-acre gravel moonscape that remains to this day.
All throughout, salmon have paid a price. In the 1930s, as many as 82,000 Chinook migrated up the Shasta each fall. Last year, only 4,500 made the trip.
“Our religion was salmon,” said Kenneth Brink, the vice chair of the Karuk tribal council. “When the salmon went away, the people went away, the ceremonies went away.”
Ranchers, for their part, see a parallel threat in water restrictions. One directed at their way of life, rather than the tribes’.
Leaving so much water in the rivers would mean “immediate lights out” for agriculture, said Theodora Johnson, who raises cattle in the Scott Valley. “My kids are seventh generation here,” she said. “I have to do everything I can to try to save it.”
To understand one reason California struggles so mightily to track its water, you might visit a small room in Sacramento that is jam-packed with some of the state’s most valuable mysteries.
There are documents written in the ornate cursive of bygone times. Corduroy-bound ledgers. Maps whose labels have come unglued. Sepia photos of charmingly unphotogenic subjects: dirt fields, pear orchards, wooden sluices.
These are the water board’s records of every water right it has handed out since the early 20th century. Millions of musty files, smelling of history. And they are unwieldy, unsearchable — a mess.
Starting next month, all of this forgotten paper will, for the first time, be scanned and made accessible online to help resolve water disputes and better parcel out supplies during droughts. But soon, the board could go even further, demanding more information from farmers who hold the state’s oldest water claims, those dating back to the pioneer era.
Old maps in an “overflow room.”
Erik Ekdahl, the documents’ keeper.
California Water License No. 1.
In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law giving the board express authority to investigate whether these users have valid rights and, if so, are using them appropriately — a prospect that has rankled farmers up and down the state.
In the Central Valley, “you’ve got so many water-rights holders who believe their water rights are whatever their granddaddy said they were,” said Felicia Marcus, a visiting fellow at Stanford and former chair of the water board.
At the moment, the board’s records on California’s senior-most water users are sparse. Deeds, maps and notices might well exist that would tell regulators more about the origins of longstanding claims. But many of those documents have spent the past century or more hidden away in libraries and courthouses, or locked up at farms and irrigation districts.
The water board is hoping to bring more of them out of the shadows.
No other state has “this arbitrary thing that says that you can’t even ask basic questions about the validity of a right” just because it’s old, said State Senator Ben Allen, who proposed the bill that the governor recently signed.
The water board will “start small” with its new powers, said Erik Ekdahl, its deputy director in charge of water rights. It will first ask growers to update records and data here or there. As Mr. Ekdahl put it, the board might ask things like: “Hey, can you go in and update your place-of-use map? Because right now the one we have is literally a bunch of 3-by-5 pictures that you’ve taken and drawn on with a Sharpie, and we can’t actually make heads or tails of it.”
Eventually, though, the board might start digging deeper. And that has farmers on edge.
That’s because files that might help validate someone’s 19th-century water claim might already be lost to time, said John Herrick, a lawyer who represents growers in the Delta. “You have to find somebody’s journal that said, ‘I got up today on Aug. 21 in 1890 and opened the sluice gate,’” he said. “Jesus! That doesn’t exist.”
In a sun-scorched pocket of desert between the Sierra Madre Mountains and the Caliente Range, there is a length of Highway 166 flanked each summer by rows of lacy, bright-green stalks. These are the carrots of the Cuyama Valley, many destined to be clipped and shaved into those quintessential emblems of American supermarket ingenuity: baby carrots.
Of late, these carrots have become an emblem of something else, too: the state’s painful groundwater crisis.
About a decade ago — and, arguably, decades too late — California legislators finally did something about the fact that many of the state’s vital aquifers were being pumped dry beneath their feet. They passed a law, the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, to end overuse and depletion.
Seen one way, the law is remarkably optimistic. Its premise is that neighbors will be neighborly: Instead of issuing top-down orders on how to conserve, the law leaves it up to local groups to work it out among themselves.
But in retrospect, this may have overestimated Californians’ neighborliness when water is at stake.
Carrots and water in the valley.
New Cuyama’s sole grocery store.
Anti-carrot sentiment.
In Cuyama, the corporate owners of the carrot fields are suing every other landowner in the valley: farms, vineyards, ranches, even the tiny school district. Their aim, effectively, is to make their neighbors share more of the burden of reducing water use under Cuyama’s sustainability plan. The case goes to trial next month.
“They know that their water table has gone down,” said Jim Wegis, who grows olives and pistachios nearby and is a defendant in the case. “It keeps going down. And they want us to help support their habit.”
Daniel T. Clifford, the general counsel for Bolthouse Properties, one of the plaintiffs, said the valley’s groundwater plan had left the companies no choice but to sue. The plan calls for total pumping to be cut by half to two-thirds over the next 15 years. So far, though, it is imposing those cuts only in the area of the valley that is dominated by Bolthouse and the other carrot giant, Grimmway.
“That’s not fair or consistent with California water law,” said Robert G. Kuhs, a lawyer representing the other plaintiffs, the owners of the land that Grimmway farms. “We strive to be good neighbors.”
In their section of the valley, the two carrot growers have used more water in recent decades than everyone else combined. Groundwater levels there are projected to fall by as much as seven feet a year, compared with two feet or less in other areas.
Uncharted Waters
A series on the causes and consequences of disappearing water.
Others in Cuyama suspect that the carrot companies are trying to make as much money as they can in the valley before water restrictions make growing unviable and they move their operations someplace else.
Mr. Clifford, the Bolthouse Properties lawyer, said the carrot growers would always need to farm in Cuyama. The reason, he said, is all of us, the carrot-eating public.
“The American consumer has grown to absolutely rely” on being able to buy carrots 365 days a year, Mr. Clifford said. The high elevation of the Cuyama Valley makes it possible to produce them when it’s too hot to do so elsewhere. “They want that carrot year-round,” he said.
On this at least, he and Mr. Wegis, one of the neighboring growers his company is suing, can agree. Except that Mr. Wegis sees it as part of the problem.
“We as farmers have spoiled the public,” Mr. Wegis said. “Everybody’s used to going into the store and seeing everything they want, all the time.”
Mount Shasta.
Produced by Claire O’Neill, Matt McCann and Umi Syam.

Edited by Sarah Graham, Jesse Pesta and Wendy Lu.
Methodology
Data in the maps of surface water claims and groundwater wells comes from the California State Water Resources Control Board and Department of Water Resources. Surface water claims are represented on the map based on the year diversion commenced for senior water rights and the permitted year for junior rights. Start dates before 1914 are based on self-reported information and may be approximate.
The map of groundwater trends is based on a New York Times analysis of data from the U.S. Geological Survey and state agencies, and depicts trends at monitoring sites from 1980 to 2022.
A separate Times analysis of self-reported water use in the Delta was based on state water board data from 2010 to 2022. Any reported amount of water use that was repeated more than once was counted as a duplicate, except for values of 0 or 1 acre-foot. In past guidance to Delta water users on avoiding double-counting under multiple water rights, the state board has suggested recording 1 acre-foot as a placeholder. If 25 percent or more of the monthly use values associated with a given water right were duplicates, then that water right was regarded as having a significant share of them.
Produced by Claire O’Neill, Matt McCann and Umi Syam. Edited by Sarah Graham, Jesse Pesta and Wendy Lu.
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Water shortage leads to state of emergency for Kentucky town – WKYT

STANFORD, Ky. (WKYT) – People are being encouraged to cut back on their usage as the city’s main sources of raw water continue to dwindle.
A state of emergency means the city can access resources faster in the event of a water main break or other problems.
Mayor Dalton Miller says people are being encouraged to conserve as much water as they can, but this is not a water shortage emergency. At least not yet.
Miller says the city’s lakes are much lower than they need to be. He says problems began surfacing a few months ago because they have not received adequate rainfall. He says people need to watch how much water they are using now so more drastic measures don’t have to be taken later.
“The easiest thing to do is not let the water run while you brush your teeth. You can waste up to five gallons of water brushing your teeth. By allowing the water to run. Use a dishwasher if you have a dishwasher at home,” said Miller.
Miller says he hopes the city will receive more rainfall in the coming months.
If a ‘water shortage emergency’ is issued, people and businesses could be required to ration water. Miller says the city has had water shortage issues before, and people have responded well.
Ryan Owens with Stanford Water Works says the city cannot access water from nearby Cedar Creek Lake in Crab Orchard because it is a “bass trophy lake,” and federal and Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife stipulations prevent a water access permit from being awarded there.
Owens did say the city does have an avenue to buy water from Danville but says, because of differences in pressure, there would have to be a catastrophic shortage situation before those lines would be tapped.
Copyright 2023 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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What does El Niño mean for North Carolina this winter? – NC DPS (.gov)

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NC Emergency Management professionals break down what El Niño means for North Carolina's winter weather forecast and how you can be prepared for potential frozen precipitation anywhere in the state.
Author: Meredith Hemphill
You may have heard on the news that a weather system called El Niño is going to make this winter a wild one. It sounds a bit alarming, but to misquote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, don’t panic and always carry a blanket. Let’s break down what El Niño means for our winter weather forecast and how you can be prepared for whatever frozen precipitation comes our way.
El Niño is a global atmospheric pattern that reoccurs every several years and changes how the weather behaves in many places. Increasing temperatures in areas of the Pacific Ocean tell meteorologists that we are currently experiencing a strengthening El Niño. For the past three years, our weather has been subject to the opposite system, La Niña, which tends to cause dry winters in the southeast. El Niño, however, brings moisture into our atmosphere and causes more precipitation during the winters. The last five El Niño periods in North Carolina have also brought warmer than average winters. Due to the recent drought conditions and the slow buildup of the current El Niño system, the North Carolina State Climate Office predicts that it will take a while for us to see most of the impact of these weather changes. They expect the wetter-than-normal conditions to arrive in January/February. While seasonal snow forecasts are complicated, historical odds favor at least one measurable snowfall for most of the state this winter.
“Preparedness is key to enduring any event where you may find yourself on your own for several days to a week,” said Will Ray, Director of North Carolina Emergency Management. “One key to protecting you and your family is to have a family emergency plan and practice it so everyone in your household knows where emergency supplies are located, where to go and how to communicate with one another.”
Before a severe winter weather event arrives, make sure you and your family are prepared. Have three days’ worth of non-perishable food, water and medications for every member of the household. One gallon of water per person per day is a good rule of thumb. Check that your emergency kit is stocked up and nothing is broken or expired. Include extra batteries for flashlights and weather radios—and make sure you have those things, too. Stock up on fuel for whatever alternative heating source you’ll use in case the heat goes out. Remember, never burn charcoal indoors! Have a fire extinguisher on hand, and make sure everyone knows how to use it.
Pets should have an emergency kit too, with their own three- to seven-day supply of food, water and any medications. Include copies of their vet records, a pet first aid kit, and their carrier or crate. Bring pets inside when temperatures drop below freezing and move livestock or other large animals to shelter with food and water before winter storms hit. Make sure their water source isn’t frozen. You can buy heaters for this purpose.
Avoid going outside during severe winter weather events. If you must, dress warmly. Wear layers, and make sure to cover your face and extremities. However, most deaths that occur during winter storms are not a direct result of the weather. Traffic accidents, house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning are common dangers. Only run generators outside, and make sure to keep them away from windows, doors, and vents. If you use a kerosene heater, be careful to keep the area well ventilated.
It’s best not to drive during wintery weather but keep an emergency kit in your vehicle just in case. This should include blankets, a flashlight, a scraper, jumper cables, tow chain, sand/salt/cat litter for traction, a first aid kit, and a road map and compass. If you must travel during bad weather, leave plenty of space between your vehicle and those around you, and reduce your speed. If conditions worsen, especially if you don’t have the visibility to see where you’re going, pull off the road and stay in your vehicle. Do not leave unless you can see a nearby building that you can walk to and take shelter in.
North Carolina Emergency Management and the National Weather Service work together to help North Carolinians plan and prepare for winter weather by providing accurate weather and safety information. Make sure you follow NCEM and your local NWS office for the most up-to-date information.
For more information on how to prepare for winter storms and other hazards that affect North Carolina, visit www.readync.gov.
 
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Conservation Programs – usda.gov

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USDA’s conservation programs help agricultural producers improve their environmental performance with respect to soil health, water quality, air quality, wildlife habitat, and greenhouse gas emissions. These programs include “working land programs” that provide financial and/or technical assistance to farmers who adopt, install, or maintain conservation practices on land in production, as well as programs that provide easements or contracts to remove land from agricultural production.
For more information about how USDA conservation programs can support adoption of conservation practices, see
For more information about what happens to land in the Conservation Reserve Program when CRP contracts expire, consider
For more information about how farmers use technical assistance to address resource concerns, see
ERS studies conservation program spending levels and analyzes trends in support for the different types of conservation assistance programs. The 2002 Farm Act and 2008 Farm Act each increase conservation program spending. By 2011, real (inflation-adjusted) conservation spending increased by more than 70 percent over 1996 levels. The 2012 Farm Act and 2018 Farm Act held total spending largely level at between $6.0 and $6.5 billion per year (except in 2014 and 2015) while also changing several aspects of program rules. Conservation spending is projected to continue within that range through 2023. Under the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (2018 Farm Act), the Congressional Budget office (CBO) estimates mandatory conservation spending of $29.5 billion over 5 years, about $560 million more than CBO’s projection of 2019-23 spending if the programs and provisions of the 2014 Farm Act had been extended. Although most conservation programs receive “mandatory” funding, the funding levels are not guaranteed and could be revised in future years.

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Beginning with the 2002 Farm Act, the share of conservation program funding devoted to working land programs (EQIP and CSP) increased to 53 percent of the total funding for the five largest conservation programs under the 2014 Farm Act. Funding for working lands programs remained relatively stable as a share of total conservation spending under the 2018 Farm Act, but the allocation of funding between programs shifted. 

Download higher resolution chart (4171 pixels by 3333, 600 dpi)
While overall conservation funding is roughly equal to baseline levels for fiscal 2019 through fiscal 2023, the 2018 Act shifted funding among programs:
For more information about how the 2018 Farm Act impacts allocations between different conservation programs: 2018 Farm Act Retains Conservation Programs But Could Reduce Payments for Land Retirement (Amber Waves, December 2019).
 
 
 
 
Conservation Compliance makes soil and wetland conservation conditions of eligibility for most USDA farm program benefits. Compliance, which explicitly links environmental and farm income objectives, can leverage farm program payments for environmental gain, but may not reach every producer (not all farmers receive income support or other payments).
Under highly erodible land conservation provisions (often referred to as “sodbuster”), farmers who crop highly erodible land must apply an approved soil conservation system or risk becoming ineligible for nearly all agriculture-related farm program benefits, including farm commodity programs, crop insurance premium subsidies, conservation programs, disaster assistance, farm loan programs, and other benefits. Under wetland conservation provisions (often referred to as “Swampbuster”), producers must refrain from draining wetlands or face the loss of farm program benefits. 
For producers who choose to till native sod that has not been previously tilled (whether or not it is highly erodible land), the “sodsaver” provision reduces crop insurance premium subsidies and limits the yield or revenue guarantee available during the first 4 years of crop production.  These sodsaver provision apply only to native sod in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Nebraska. There are also imitations that apply to noninsured crop disaster assistance. Unlike sodbuster or sodsaver, these limitations apply only on the land that has been converted from native sod to crop production
As farm programs evolve over time, the nature and size of the compliance incentive may also change, possibly affecting compliance incentives. See, for example, Conservation Compliance: How Farmer Incentives Are Changing in the Crop Insurance Era (ERR-234, July 2017).
ERS research examines the cost-effectiveness of conservation policies and programs, with an emphasis on identifying conservation program design features that increase environmental gain per program dollar. ERS also investigates the environmental impact of broader agricultural policies and programs on land use, input use, and conservation practice adoption. Research findings address many issues in program design:
Last updated: Friday, September 08, 2023
For more information, contact: Steven Wallander

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November 2023 El Niño update: transport options | NOAA Climate.gov – Climate.gov

El Niño is currently chugging along, and forecasters expect it to continue for the next several months, with a 62% chance of lasting through April­–June 2024. Since we’re heading into the winter, when El Niño’s effect on Northern Hemisphere temperature and rain/snow is most distinct, today we’ll drive by some of El Niño’s wide-ranging impacts.
First stop—this El Niño has now met the threshold for a “strong” event! The August–October Oceanic Niño Index, which measures the three-month-average sea surface temperature in the east-central tropical Pacific (the so-called Niño-3.4 region), was 1.5 °C above the long-term average (long-term is currently 1991–2020). The Oceanic Niño Index is our primary metric for ENSO (El Niño/Southern Oscillation, the entire El Niño and La Niña system). The monthly Niño-3.4 Index was 1.7 °C above average.
2-year history of sea surface temperatures in the Niño-3.4 region of the tropical Pacific for all events evolving into El Niño since 1950 (gray lines) and the current event (purple line). NOAA Climate.gov image based on a graph by Emily Becker and monthly Niño-3.4 index data from CPC using ERSSTv5.
“Strong” here is in quotation marks because we don’t have an official definition of ENSO strength. Our unofficial thresholds for the strength of an El Niño event are an Oceanic Niño Index of 0.5–0.9 °C for weak, 1.0–1.4 °C for moderate, and above 1.5 °C for strong. Over 2.0 °C is considered “very strong,” or “historically strong.” I’m going to drop the quotation marks going forward, because they slow us down, and we’re motoring here!
We started noting the potential for a strong El Niño way back in April 2023, before El Niño had even arrived (that happened in June). Currently, forecasters estimate a greater than 55% chance that El Niño will remain above that threshold for strong through January–March 2024. There’s about a 1-in-3 chance that the Oceanic Niño Index will reach 2.0 °C, which has happened four times before in our 73-year record: 1972-73, 1982–83, 1997–98, and 2015–16.
Why does the strength of an El Niño matter? I’ll get to that. First, though, let’s cruise through the reasoning behind the forecast.
During an El Niño event, both the tropical Pacific Ocean surface and the atmosphere exhibit characteristic changes. The ocean surface is warmer than average, as I discussed above. Without El Niño, the usual atmospheric pattern, the Walker circulation, consists of rising air and storms over the far western Pacific, west-to-east winds high up in the atmosphere, descending air over the cooler eastern Pacific, and the trade winds, east-to-west winds near the surface.
 
ENSO-Neutral or average conditions across the tropical Pacific Ocean.  Climate.gov schematic by Emily Eng and inspired by NOAA PMEL.
El Niño’s warmer-than-average central and eastern Pacific weaken this pattern, leading to less rain over the far western Pacific, more in the central, and sometimes eastern, Pacific, and weaker trade winds.
El Niño feedbacks between the ocean and atmosphere. During El Niño, the eastward expansion of the convection and rainfall will depend on how warm the absolute sea surface temperatures becomes in the eastern Pacific. This means that during weaker El Niño events, we may only see convection and rainfall increase around the Date Line.  But during stronger El Niño events, the increase in convection and rainfall can potentially extend from the Date Line all the way to coastal Ecuador/Peru in South America. Climate.gov schematic by Emily Eng and inspired by NOAA PMEL.
We’ve observed all of these characteristics of the weaker Walker circulation lately, indicating that El Niño’s engine is fully engaged.
The weaker trade winds help to continue and potentially strengthen the ocean surface temperature changes. Under average conditions, consistent trade winds drag across the surface and keep warm water piled up in the far western Pacific. When they weaken, warm water can start to slosh eastward under the surface, in a downwelling Kelvin wave. These waves can take a few months to travel across the Pacific, providing a source of warm water to continue powering the surface warming. Recently, we’ve seen evidence of increased warm water under the surface of the central tropical Pacific, and it appears another downwelling Kelvin wave is in progress.
Water temperatures in the top 300 meters (1,000 feet) of the tropical Pacific Ocean compared to the 1991–2020 average in September–October 2023. NOAA Climate.gov animation, based on data from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
Similar to last month, the amount of warm water under the surface isn’t quite up to the October levels seen during the strong El Niño events in 1982, 1997, or 2015. For visuals, you can check out the scatter plot of September values from last month’s blog post, or look at the subsurface cross-sections from October 2023, 1982, 1997, and 2015.  However, another downwelling Kelvin wave would increase the subsurface temperature anomalies in the eastern Pacific.  
The strength of an El Niño event matters because the stronger the event, the more likely that we’ll see the characteristic changes in temperature, rain and snow, and other impacts. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the impacts themselves will be so much stronger, but it makes the expected El Niño impacts more likely to happen. Of course, where the weather is concerned, there are no guarantees! However, a stronger El Niño makes it a safer bet that we’ll see the expected patterns.
We’ve written a fair bit about El Niño impacts in our 9.5 years here at the ENSO Blog. Let’s buzz through a few:
Our Alaskan friend-of-the-blog, Brian Brettschneider, was kind enough to provide us with maps that show how winter in North America turned out during past El Niños (there have been 29 since 1950) turned out (see footnote). For example, El Niño winters in Florida have more often been wetter (green) than average, while the Midwest has seen more drier-than-average (brown) El Niño winters.
This is not your typical “winter impacts of El Niño” map. It shows the frequency of wet (green) or dry (brown) winters (December-February) across North America during the 29 El Niños from 1940-2022. Places where more than half the El Niño winters were wetter than average by any amount are colored green. (Whether a winter was above- or below-average was based on comparison with a 30-year rolling average centered on the winter in question.) Places where more than half the El Niño winters were drier than average by any amount are colored brown. Much of the southern United States is light or medium green, meaning that wetter-than-average winters were slightly more common than drier-than-average winters. Across the northern part of the contiguous United States, drier-than-average winters slightly outnumbered wet ones. NOAA Climate.gov map, based on analysis of ERA5 data by Brian Brettschneider.
This is not your typical “winter impacts of El Niño” map. The colors show the frequency of cold or warm winters during the 29 El Niños that occurred from 1940-2022. Places where more than half (15 or more) the El Niño winters were cooler than average by any amount are colored blue. (Whether a winter was above- or below-average was based on comparison with a 30-year rolling average centered on the winter in question.) Places where more than half the El Niño winters were warmer than average by any amount are colored red. Most of the United States is light or medium blue, meaning that cooler-than-average winters were slightly more common than warmer-than-average winters. NOAA Climate.gov map, based on analysis of ERA5 data by Brian Brettschneider.
Northwestern North America has seen more warmer (red) than average El Niño winters, and the states around the Gulf of Mexico have been cooler (blue) more often. What do you see? Let us know in the comments!
That’s today’s trip through the wonderful world of ENSO. See you next month!
Rebecca wrote a piece about the summer version of these maps. The maps are based on the “ERA5” reanalysis from the European Center on Medium-range Weather Forecasting, which covers the global climate from January 1940 to the present. A reanalysis is when scientists use a climate model to fill in gaps in past observations. Many observational records are incomplete, due to stations moving, being discontinued, or missing data. Using a climate model, we can connect the dots between missing data and create a continuous record of the past climate. Reanalysis is an invaluable, widely used technique.
This el niño will peak later than usual. Perhaps February or perhaps march. Will be a super el nino. This el nino will strengthen in this winter. Some models (Nasa, Cansips, Jamstec and others showing thai el nino will peak later than usual) . Cfs peaking at January or February 
Submitted by Andrey on Thu, 11/09/2023 – 14:44
Image removed.
Submitted by Paul A Duginski on Thu, 11/09/2023 – 17:36
Hi I live in Seattle, Wa and during the previous 3 El Nino has been wet and warm,so far this year the same is occuring. I looked this up and I found that We get normal to above normal rainfall here,usually. Only 1968-69 winter was dry,and warm.
Submitted by Charles Thomas on Thu, 11/09/2023 – 20:55
I am disappointed that super El Niño happening more drought and fires for Wisconsin. I can’t have that. 
Submitted by Jesse FIlbrandt on Fri, 11/10/2023 – 03:46
Great article and thanks for the update on this years ENSO.
What are the chances of this El Nino delivering a Colder and Snowier Winter here in Kentucky, like we had in 2015 ?
Submitted by Stephen S. on Fri, 11/10/2023 – 07:12
Unfortunately Kentucky has a less reliable El Nino signal and tends to be between the area of less storminess to the north and more storminess to the south.  Official outlooks are here:  https://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/long_range/
Submitted by michelle.lheureux on Thu, 11/16/2023 – 13:17
In reply to by Stephen S.
I enjoyed the “I’m on a boat” reference!  “I got my swim trunks and my flippie-floppies”  
Submitted by W! on Sat, 11/11/2023 – 09:38
Nice piece on the references at the end of the blog!
Submitted by Jeff Brown on Sat, 11/11/2023 – 13:49
Hello,
In 2015-2016 you named that El Niño the “Bruce Lee” of El Niño’s.  Will you be coming up with a name for this year’s El Niño?  Thanks!
Submitted by Jessica on Sat, 11/11/2023 – 17:31
No!  :)
Submitted by michelle.lheureux on Thu, 11/16/2023 – 13:17
In reply to by Jessica
I just wanna know if it’s going to snow in Philadelphia this year.
Submitted by Becky on Mon, 11/13/2023 – 13:38
Unfortunately Philly tends to be on the dividing line of snowfall shifts so we will see!
Submitted by michelle.lheureux on Thu, 11/16/2023 – 13:18
In reply to by Becky
We are getting consternation from some here in California over our dry November thus far. We are reading all kinds of theories as to why El Nino has yet to bring copious rain to California thus far.
Submitted by Bob G on Tue, 11/14/2023 – 17:01
California precip impacts associated with El Nino tend to occur in January-March and February-April seasons.  So still a little too soon.
Submitted by michelle.lheureux on Thu, 11/16/2023 – 13:19
In reply to by Bob G
Thanks Michelle!
Submitted by Bob G on Thu, 11/16/2023 – 15:29
In reply to by michelle.lheureux
awesome job guys!
Submitted by E. on Thu, 11/16/2023 – 11:44
How long with this ungodly humidity (and heat) continue this summer-like weather in Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s central Pacific coast? Normally sometime in October the humidity decreases and the weather gets comfortable until about May or June, when the humidity ramps up again. PS. The temperature doesn’t vary that much throughout the year here….it’s the humidity that makes summers so uncomfortable.
Submitted by Andrea Jupina on Thu, 11/16/2023 – 15:06
Unfortunately it looks like above-average temperatures are favored in the upcoming seasons. You may find this IRI site useful for seasonal outlooks in your area:  https://iri.columbia.edu/our-expertise/climate/forecasts/seasonal-climate-forecasts/
Submitted by michelle.lheureux on Fri, 11/17/2023 – 07:27
In reply to by Andrea Jupina
Above average SSTs? How is it possible for atmospheric CO2 to affect the trade winds strength and the alternating cold phase La Niña and the warm phase El Niño? There doesn’t seem to be any correlation.
Submitted by Ken Towe on Wed, 11/29/2023 – 16:45
In reply to by michelle.lheureux
Dang we’re having a dry Fall and came through a brutal forest fire season . Looking at the maps it appears we are in trouble again. Not looking good for the Boreal Forest area and surrounding. 
Submitted by Brian on Tue, 11/21/2023 – 15:54
What about the Enso mei that shows the SO value to have fallen below +0.5? 
Submitted by Lou on Tue, 11/21/2023 – 23:55
curently enjoying El Nino effects in Nakuru, Kenya. We are going through a nice wet season in November when it’s usually dry with very little rain for the past 3 years. a good change to have :)
Submitted by Meidimi on Fri, 11/24/2023 – 03:20
Is the strength of Hurricane Otis related to El Niño?
 
Submitted by Fernanda on Tue, 11/28/2023 – 11:15
How is it possible for atmospheric CO2 to affect the trade winds strength and the alternating cold phase La Niña and the warm phase El Niño? There doesn’t seem to be any correlation.
Submitted by Ken Towe on Wed, 11/29/2023 – 16:39
Can you explain why this El Niño is so short vs the last La Niña?  Global warming, eh?
Submitted by Liardet Guy on Tue, 01/23/2024 – 09:55
Well, we’re not in an El Nino yet. But in general, yes El Nino’s tend to be shorter-lived than La Nina’s due in part to what they represent. La Nina is an amplification of the existing climatological pattern in the Pacific while El Nino is the opposite. What makes El Nino go, also leads to its demise. 
You can learn more at  https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/enso/life-and-death-el-ni%C…
As for ENSO and climate change, we have a bunch of articles on the topic
Submitted by tom.diliberto on Mon, 01/29/2024 – 13:34
In reply to by Liardet Guy

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Climate Change (U.S – National Park Service

The National Park Service is responsible for many of our nation’s most treasured places. Efforts to restore ecosystems, recover imperiled species, enhance visitor infrastructure, and protect night skies are all important to preserving our parks for the benefit of all visitors.

But as human activity drives rapid changes to our modern climate, we must similarly respond to the impacts it brings to our parks. Though unprecedented in size and scope, the National Park Service is rising to the challenge with a comprehensive strategy that emphasizes science, facilitates adaptation, encourages sustainable operations, and supports broad communication.

From Acadia to Zion, units across the National Park System are actively working to address the challenge of climate change.
The NPS Climate Change Response Strategy 2023 Update is now available! Explore the cornerstones: Understand, Adapt, Mitigate, & Communicate.
The National Park Service uses the best-available to science to inform climate change decision making
A number of tools and techniques are employed to help parks adapt to climate change
How is the National Park Service working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from park operations?
Park rangers and partners are communicating climate change stories throughout America’s national parks
What is the NPS Climate Change Response Program? Learn more about this dedicated team and their work
Last updated: October 11, 2023
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play

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October 2023 El Niño update: big cats – Climate.gov

El Niño is currently purring along in the tropical Pacific. Forecasters expect El Niño will continue through the spring, with a 75-85% chance it will become a strong event. A stronger El Niño—definition to follow shortly—means it is more likely that we will see El Niño’s expected thumbprint on winter temperature and rain/snow patterns around the world.
First, the numbers. Our primary metric for the growth of El Niño is the temperature of the ocean surface in the Niño-3.4 region, a box in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific. Specifically, the anomaly, the difference of this temperature from the long-term average (long-term = 1991–2020). (Why here? Several decades ago, this region was found to have the strongest relationship with tropical atmospheric changes.) In September, the Niño-3.4 Index was 1.6 °C (2.9 °F), according to the ERSSTv5, our most reliable sea surface temperature dataset.
2-year history of sea surface temperatures in the Niño-3.4 region of the tropical Pacific for all events evolving into El Niño since 1950 (gray lines) and the current event (purple line). NOAA Climate.gov image based on a graph by Emily Becker and monthly Niño-3.4 index data from CPC using ERSSTv5.
El Niño is a coupled system, meaning the ocean and the tropical atmosphere are working together to continue and grow the El Niño event. The average air circulation pattern over the tropical Pacific, called the Walker circulation, brings rising air, clouds, and storms over the very warm water of the far western Pacific, west-to-east winds high up in the atmosphere, descending air over the eastern Pacific, and the east-to-west surface winds called the trade winds. In the case of El Niño, the warmer-than-average surface water in the central-eastern Pacific leads to more rising air over that region, weakening the Walker circulation.
The atmospheric half of El Niño is clearly showing its stripes. All the signs of a weakened Walker circulation are present, including more rain and clouds over the central-eastern Pacific, slower trade winds and upper-level winds, and drier conditions in Indonesia and the far western Pacific. Taken collectively, the ocean surface and the atmospheric conditions tell us that El Niño will stick around for the next few months at least.
September 2023 sea surface temperature difference from the 1985-1993 average (details from Coral Reef Watch). Much of the global oceans are warmer than average. NOAA Climate.gov image from Data Snapshots.
Since we’re sure El Niño will be operating into the winter, the next question is “how strong will it get?” Strength definitions, which usually also use the Niño-3.4 Index, are unofficial, since it’s not like an El Niño with a peak Niño-3.4 Index of 1.5 °C is going to have noticeably different impacts than one with a peak Niño-3.4 Index of 1.4 °C. However, as I mentioned above, the stronger the El Niño, the more likely it will affect global temperature and rain/snow patterns in expected ways. This is because a larger sea surface temperature change leads to a larger shift in the Walker circulation, making it more likely that El Niño will affect the jet stream and cause a cascade of global impacts.
The unofficial definition of a strong El Niño is a peak 3-month-average Niño-3.4 Index of at least 1.5 °C. El Niño is a seasonal phenomenon, and that 3-month-average Niño-3.4 Index (called the Oceanic Niño Index or ONI) is important for making sure that the oceanic and atmospheric changes persist long enough to affect global weather and climate. A peak ONI of 2.0 °C or more is considered “historically strong,” or “very strong.” We’ve only seen four of these in our historical record, dating back to 1950.
Forecasters give this event a high chance of qualifying as a strong event, based on our climate model predictions and the current conditions. “Hey wait,” you’re saying. “Isn’t the September Niño-3.4 Index already 1.6 °C?” And indeed it is, but the 3-month-average for July–September was 1.3 °C. That said, we have a 75% chance that the ONI will reach or exceed 1.5 °C in November­–January (typically the peak season).  We actually have a slightly higher chance, 83%, that we will reach that threshold in September-November, which is on our doorstep.
So how about peaking at or above 2.0 °C? Forecasters give that around a 3-in-10 chance for November­–January. The climate models have a fairly wide range of potential outcomes—if they were concentrated above 2.0 °C, we’d probably be able to give more confident chances. Also, while there is still a good amount of heat under the surface of the Pacific—this warmer water provides a source to the surface—it’s not quite at the level we’ve seen during previous historically strong El Niños like 1982–83, 1997–98, or 2015–16.
Each dot on this scatterplot shows the subsurface temperature anomaly (difference from the long-term average) in the central tropical Pacific each September (horizontal axis) since 1979 versus the oceanic ENSO conditions the following November–January (vertical axis). The vertical red line show the September 2023 subsurface temperature anomaly. The amount of warmer-than-average water under the surface in September has a strong relationship with the oceanic ENSO conditions later in the year. Previous very strong El Niño events, 1982–83,1997–98, and 2015–16, had more subsurface warm water than 2023. Data from CPC, image by Climate.gov.
This is a small sample of very strong events, though, and the current moderate subsurface temperature certainly doesn’t preclude this event peaking above 2.0 °C. It just contributes to a tempering of the odds.
One more thing I wanted to cover this month—the temperature of the global oceans is still running way above average, with startling records in recent months.
Non-polar (60 °N – 60 °S) global averaged sea surface temperature from 1982-2023 from (top) daily OISSTv2.1 and (bottom) monthly ERSSTv5 datasets. The thick black lines represent the 1982-2011 average across the calendar year; 2022 (orange line), 2023 (thick red line), and 2016 (the year of record warmth before 2023; thin red line) are highlighted. The thin grey lines represent all other years. Both graphs indicate that the last few months have experienced record global ocean warmth. NOAA Climate.gov image based on graphs by Boyin Huang and data from NCEI.
We last featured these graphs, kindly provided by Dr. Boyin Huang of the National Centers for Environmental Information, in May. They show two different datasets, one with daily values and one with monthly averages. Whenever we see something really extraordinary, like the recent records, we want to be sure it’s not a data error. Checking two different datasets provides confirmation that this is a real feature.
The extreme warmth in the global oceans—also noticeable in the map I showed above—means this El Niño is operating in a different world than earlier El Niño events. For example, the Atlantic hurricane season is often on the quieter side overall during El Niño, but this year has already seen an active season, with 18 named storms, as the very warm North Atlantic Ocean has provided lots of fuel.
We’re never going to sleep on the ENSO job! Check back later this month for a post on El Niño and snowfall patterns, and I’ll be back in November to update you on all things El Niño.
Looking back on the accumulated data can we tie El Nino to the tremendous rains received in New Engalnd that is having a dramatic effect on our Fall Colors
Submitted by Jeff Foliage on Thu, 10/12/2023 – 11:54
More likely than not, that was simply a result of our random atmosphere as opposed to El Nino as the culprit. 
Submitted by tom.diliberto on Mon, 10/16/2023 – 21:34
In reply to by Jeff Foliage
Congratulations on getting selected to be part of NOAA’s contingent at COP28 this year!  
Submitted by Matt on Thu, 11/30/2023 – 19:38
In reply to by tom.diliberto
On Tom’s behalf: Thanks!!
Submitted by emily.becker on Fri, 12/01/2023 – 13:55
In reply to by Matt
Hello, I am aware of SST but on this post you have subsurface temperature. Is this some kind of feline synonym or there is a fox in the story?
Thank you,
Pierre
Submitted by Pierre on Thu, 10/12/2023 – 15:54
Scientists break down the ocean into all sorts of CAT-egories when looking at El Nino.
 
Subsurface temperatures (temperatures at depth in the ocean) help scientists know how much or little warmer than average water at depth that can help develop an El Nino.
Submitted by tom.diliberto on Mon, 10/16/2023 – 21:33
In reply to by Pierre
Hi there,
What is a better way to measure atmospheric coupling in ENSO? Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) or ENSO Longitude Index (ELI)?
Submitted by BOB G on Tue, 10/17/2023 – 13:16
It’s a good question! Both MEI and ELI have their proponents. For the purposes of making our forecasts, we usually consider a number of different components of atmospheric circulation, rather than one combined index like MEI or ELI. These include the EQSOI and SOI, which measure atmospheric pressure, an OLR index that tells us how cloudy various regions of the tropical Pacific are, and the low-level winds. 
Submitted by emily.becker on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 16:05
In reply to by BOB G
Thanks Emily!
Submitted by Bob G on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 16:42
In reply to by emily.becker
Thanks so much for the continued fantastic work and the data and information you make freely available to us all but please one small favour. Please can you avoid using hemisphere specific terms like winter, summer etc. when discussing global phenomena like ENSO. It’s confusing and ENSO affects even those regions with no distinct annual season, let alone those of us who hang upsidedown by our CAT-like claws in the south.
Thank you – love your work!
Submitted by Arthur on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 00:27
Thanks for this comment! I will try to be more specific in the future. ENSO is a global phenomenon, as I am constantly saying!
Submitted by emily.becker on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 15:52
In reply to by Arthur
Thank you again Emily Becker for the nuances.
Submitted by thomas john dale on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 13:28
So much dissonance when reporting the El Nino winter forecast for northern New England. NOAA, the Farmer’s Almanac, weather channels, et al. are all equally useless to plan on. I am looking at the tea leaves as we speak.
Submitted by Lou on Wed, 10/18/2023 – 14:19
There is has been more online chatter about a CP event or Modoki event developing over winter. I haven’t really seen the SSTs forecasted that way over winter. What do you think?
Submitted by Bob G on Tue, 10/24/2023 – 14:55
The dynamical guidance I have looked at has not favored a CP/Modoki flavor to this El Nino. Actually, the maximum sea surface temperature anomalies have been located east of the average El Nino max location, which is not unusual for stronger events. We’ll see if the guidance changes when the new forecast runs come out in a little over a week, but for now, I do not see an obvious reason why a CP/Modoki flavor should be favored.
Submitted by Nathaniel.Johnson on Wed, 10/25/2023 – 11:46
In reply to by Bob G
Thanks Nathaniel!!
Submitted by Robert Granelli on Wed, 10/25/2023 – 16:03
In reply to by Nathaniel.Johnson
In order to have an impact with El Nino a positive PDO has to be present. I don’t understand why NOAA doesn’t consider this teleconnection in their ENSO forecast ? In the last El Nino 2014- 16 we had quite an impact here in Kentucky. The PDO went strongly positive in 2014 long before a very strong El Nino formed in 2015 -16. Now the PDO is still strongly negative which is giving our area along with the rest of the country La Nina like weather pattern. What gives ? I don’t want to learn that the PDO lags behind El Nino latter in the Winter. Not true.
Submitted by Stephen S. on Thu, 10/26/2023 – 06:48
El Nino and the positive PDO often go hand in hand, and the positive PDO is a sign that the North Pacific atmospheric anomalies are consistent with the expected midlatitude response to El Nino. So, I see that it would make sense that the expected impacts of El Nino downstream of the North Pacific in the U.S. tend to accompany a positive PDO. However, this correlation does not prove that the North Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies independent of El Nino that are tied to the PDO are a major cause of the El Nino impacts. There have been many studies investigating the impact of extratropical sea surface temperature anomalies, like those of the PDO, on the atmospheric circulation, and these studies consistently show that the atmospheric response is much weaker and more uncertain than the response to the tropical sea surface temperature anomalies associated with El Nino. 
That doesn’t mean that the PDO has no impact or that this year could be a unique case where the extratropical sea surface temperature anomalies have an outsized impact on U.S. climate. But even if that’s the case, we have to remember that this is the ENSO Blog, and NOAA forecasters making ENSO forecasts are not focused on the ENSO teleconnections or the potential interference by other climate drivers. If the PDO or any other climate driver is expected to impact seasonal climate anomalies over the U.S., then this would be covered in CPC’s seasonal outlooks
Submitted by Nathaniel.Johnson on Thu, 10/26/2023 – 10:22
In reply to by Stephen S.

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Water Scarcity, the Climate Crisis and Global Food Security: A Call for Collaborative Action | United Nations – Welcome to the United Nations

Lifeng Li is Director, Land and Water Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
 
12 October 2023

Water scarcity is one of the most pressing development challenges of our time. Today, 2.4 billion people live in water-stressed countries. Many are smallholder farmers who already struggle to meet their daily needs for drinking water, nutritious food and basic services such as hygiene and sanitation. Women, indigenous peoples, migrants and refugees are particularly affected.
Competition for this precious resource is on the rise, as water scarcity increasingly becomes a cause of conflict. Freshwater resources per person have dropped by 20 per cent over the past two decades, while water availability and quality are deteriorating quickly due to decades of misuse, lack of coordinated management, over-abstraction of groundwater, pollution and climate change.
To worsen the situation, increased and recurring extreme weather events, droughts and floods are stressing our ecosystems, with devastating consequences for global food security.
Agriculture, which accounts for 72 per cent of global freshwater withdrawals, the highest of all sectors, holds the solutions to this global crisis.
A comprehensive approach for a changing world
To address these multifaceted challenges, securing sufficient water resources for agriculture in an efficient manner is paramount. This becomes even more critical with the need to produce more food as the world population increases and urbanization accelerates, intensifying the competition among different economic sectors, all of which depend on water.
Ensuring effective governance is therefore essential for sustainable and equitable water allocation. This requires adopting an inclusive and integrated approach that involves all stakeholders, from policymakers to grass-roots communities. Water governance and tenure, and water accounting, are needed to catalyse transformative change and guarantee equitable access to water.
Targeted investments and incentives in innovative and efficient water management practices are key. This includes new technologies for irrigation and storage, advancing wastewater treatment and reuse, circular economy principles and ecosystem-based solutions to address water scarcity.
Integrated natural resources management through the coordinated development and management of water, soils and land at all levels will maximize human well-being while safeguarding the integrity and sustainability of vital ecosystems. Such efforts call for both national and regional strategies.
As water scarcity intensifies and climate change results in more frequent droughts and floods, the international community has to step up and adopt a holistic approach towards the climate agenda beyond water and food. More concrete and inclusive climate solutions must be accelerated and scaled up so as to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
Working with countries to act on the ground
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), together with member countries and other partners, is working to make these changes happen.
The United Nations 2023 Water Conference undoubtedly represented a pivotal juncture, rallying global leaders, civil society organizations, the private sector and individuals to unite in purposeful action and pledge their commitment to achieving the water-related goals and targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Because nearly three quarters of freshwater withdrawals go to agriculture, FAO is in a unique position to offer solutions to address challenges related to water scarcity. The same goes for water-related disasters, including droughts and floods, many of which disproportionally affect family farmers.
Aligned with the Organization’s “New Water Journey”, which emphasizes Integrated Water Resources Management for agricultural and food security to advance numerous SDGs, FAO embraces the global Water Action Agenda as adopted during the 2023 Water Conference.
FAO works with governments and communities to build country-owned and country-led National Water Roadmaps, a tool aimed at strengthening the intersectoral coordination of water at the national level. FAO also builds the data sets and technology required by countries to make well‑informed decisions.
It works with countries to increase farmers’ access and rights to water as part of its efforts to improve water governance.
Globally, irrigated land produces 40 per cent of food from 20 per cent of arable land, yet it remains an untapped potential. To help deliver on this potential, FAO is developing a methodology for measuring global irrigation needs and their potential mapping, alongside the countries that will implement it.
FAO also promotes targeted investments and appropriate financing of water infrastructure and irrigation, and it works with governments to manage drought risks before they turn into crises.
Although floods caused global losses of around $20 billion in 2021, ecosystem-based solutions for flood management, agricultural land management, wetland storage and other soil and water conservation practices can attenuate these floods and limit their impacts.
Integrated land and water management can provide multiple benefits. In Sri Lanka and Zambia, for example, FAO is piloting multifunctional paddy fields for fish and shrimp farming, in addition to rice production. Such value added infrastructure generates benefits by recharging groundwater, controlling floods and providing ecosystem services while boosting livelihoods.
As the host of WASAG—the Global Framework on Water Scarcity in Agriculture—FAO is bringing together governments and other key players worldwide to share knowledge and design new polices, strategies and programmes to change water scarcity into an opportunity for food and nutrition security.
Collaborative solutions for water sustainability: A call to action for all stakeholders
We can and must do more, together, with all the various actors making their distinct but interrelated contributions:
Managing water more wisely starts with building partnerships. This means that governments need to collaborate with international organizations, research institutions and academia, the private sector and civil society to devise sustainable solutions for a water- and food-secure future.
Governments need to design science- and evidence-based policies that capitalize on data and innovation to improve water planning and management. Recognizing the water-food-energy nexus, policies need to prioritize intersectoral planning, managing often-competing but complementary interests, without compromising the health of our ecosystems.
Farmers need to become agents of sustainable water management, equipped with the right tools to do so effectively. Farmers, forest-dependent communities, fisherfolk, livestock producers and those working in the blue economy already deal with water on a daily basis. Empowering and enabling them to take the lead in finding and implementing water solutions corresponding to their needs is both the obvious and the smart thing to do. However, this is only achievable if they are provided with appropriate technologies, training and timely, accurate information. They should also be involved in all stages of the planning and decision-making process.
The private sector needs to become a water steward. That means making concrete commitments to improving water use efficiency and reducing pollution across the supply chain. Actors in the sector could exercise their corporate social responsibility in a more practical and innovative way. Prioritizing water governance can boost their reputation and profits and help them avoid risks that water scarcity, floods and pollution could pose to operations in the future.
Finally, each and every one of us needs to value water. We should no longer take it for granted. Making informed decisions about the products we buy, wasting less water and preventing pollution are simple ways for all of us to contribute to the positive actions for the future of food, people and the planet.

The UN Chronicle  is not an official record. It is privileged to host senior United Nations officials as well as distinguished contributors from outside the United Nations system whose views are not necessarily those of the United Nations. Similarly, the boundaries and names shown, and the designations used, in maps or articles do not necessarily imply endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.  
Thankfully, the Government of Timor-Leste, United Nations agencies and civil society organizations all acknowledge the scope of child labour and its deep-rooted causes. This means that there is a great opportunity for different institutions in Timor-Leste to work together towards change.
Food safety is everyone’s business and all of the players along the production chain can do their part. 
In April 2024, Pradeep Kurukulasuriya was appointed Executive Secretary of the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF). The UN Chronicle took the opportunity to ask Mr. Kurukulasuriya about the Fund and its unique role in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is Part 1 of our two-part interview.

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Gaza residents struggle to follow Israeli evacuation order amid critical water shortage – PBS NewsHour

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DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Palestinians struggled Saturday to flee from areas of Gaza targeted by the Israeli military while grappling with a growing water and medical supply shortage ahead of an expected land offensive a week after Hamas’ bloody, wide-ranging attack into Israel.
Israel renewed calls on social media and in leaflets dropped from the air for Gaza residents to move south, while Hamas urged people to stay in their homes. The U.N. and aid groups have said such a rapid exodus would cause untold human suffering, especially for hospitalized patients, older adults and others unable to relocate.
WATCH: Mass exodus begins in Gaza as Israel tells people to leave ahead of more raids
The evacuation directive covers an area of 1.1 million residents, or about half the territory’s population. The Israeli military said “hundreds of thousands” of Palestinians had heeded the warning and headed south. It gave Palestinians a six hour window that ended Saturday afternoon to travel within Gaza without being harmed along two main routes.
A week after Hamas’ attack, Israel was still working to assess the casualties. With special rabbinic approval, workers at a military base in central Israel continued the grueling task of identifying the bodies of the Israelis and foreign nationals who were killed, mostly civilians. Work is normally halted on Saturday, the Jewish sabbath.
On Saturday night, the Israeli military said in a statement it was preparing a coordinated offensive in Gaza using air, ground and naval forces. Israel has not said when the offensive will begin.
It was not clear how many Palestinians remained in north Gaza by Saturday afternoon, said Juliette Touma, a spokesperson for the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees. “What we know is that hundreds of thousands of people have fled. And that 1 million people have been displaced in total in one week,” she said.
An estimated 35,000 displaced civilians have crammed into the grounds of Gaza City’s main hospital, sitting under trees in the empty grounds, as well as inside the building’s lobby and corridors, hoping they will be protected from the fighting, medical officials said.
“People think this is the only safe space after their homes were destroyed and they were forced to flee,” said Dr. Medhat Abbas, a Health Ministry official. “Gaza City is a frightening scene of devastation.”
Families in cars, trucks and donkey carts packed with possessions crowded a main road heading away from Gaza City as Israeli airstrikes continued to hammer the 40-kilometer (25-mile) long territory, where basic necessities like food, fuel and drinking water were running low because of a complete Israeli siege.
Water has stopped coming out of taps across the territory. Amal Abu Yahia, a 25-year-old pregnant mother in the Jabaliya refugee camp, said she waits anxiously for the few minutes each day or every other day when contaminated water trickles from the pipes in her basement. She then rations it, prioritizing her 5-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter. She said she is drinking so little herself, she only urinates every other day.
Near the coast, the only tap water is contaminated with Mediterranean Sea water because of the lack of sanitation facilities. Mohammed Ibrahim, 28, said his neighbors in Gaza City have taken to drinking the salt water.
The Israeli military’s evacuation would force the territory’s entire population to cram into the southern half of Gaza as Israel continues strikes across the territory, including in the south.
READ MORE: Palestinians in Gaza face an impossible choice — stay home under airstrikes, or flee under airstrikes?
Rami Swailem said he and at least five families in his building decided to stay put in his apartment near Gaza City. “We are rooted in our lands,” he said. “We prefer to die in dignity and face our destiny.”
Others were looking desperately for ways to evacuate. “We need a number for drivers from Gaza to the south, it is necessary #help,” read a post on social media. “We need a bus number, office, or any means of transport,” read another.
The U.N. refugee agency for Palestinians expressed concern for those who could not leave, “particularly pregnant women, children, older persons and persons with disabilities,” saying they must be protected. The agency also called for Israel to not target civilians, hospitals, schools, clinics and U.N. locations.
Al-Shifa hospital was receiving hundreds of wounded every hour and had used up 95% of its medical supplies, hospital director Mohammad Abu Selim said. Water is scarce and the fuel powering its generators is dwindling.
“The situation inside the hospital is miserable in every sense of the word,” he said. “The operating rooms don’t stop.”
Patients and personnel from the Al Awda Hospital in Gaza’s far north spent part of their night in the street “with bombs landing in close proximity,” the medical aid group Doctors Without Borders said.
An Israeli military spokesperson, Jonathan Conricus, said the evacuation was aimed at keeping civilians safe and preventing Hamas from using them as human shields. He urged people in the targeted areas to leave immediately and to return “only when we tell them that it is safe to do so.”
“The Palestinian civilians in Gaza are not our enemies. We don’t assess them as such, and we don’t target them as such,” Conricus said. “We are trying to do the right thing.”
Thousands of people crammed into a U.N.-run school-turned-shelter in Deir al-Balah, a farming town south of the evacuation zone. Many slept outside on the ground without mattresses, or in chairs pulled from classrooms.
“I came here with my children. We slept on the ground. We don’t have a mattress, or clothes,” Howeida al-Zaaneen, 63, who is from the northern town of Beit Hanoun, said. “I want to go back to my home, even if it is destroyed.”
The Israeli military said its troops conducted temporary raids into Gaza on Friday to battle militants and hunted for traces of some 150 people — including men, women and children — who were abducted during Hamas’ shocking Oct. 7 assault on southern Israel.
The Gaza Health Ministry said Saturday that over 2,200 people have been killed in the territory, including 724 children and 458 women. The Hamas communications office said that Israel has “completely demolished” over 7,000 housing units so far.
Hamas’ surprise attack killed more than 1,300 people on the Israeli side, most of them civilians, and roughly 1,500 Hamas militants died during the fighting, the Israeli government said.
Egyptian officials said the country’s Rafah border crossing with Gaza would open Saturday for the first time in days to allow foreigners out. One official said both Israel and Palestinian militant groups had agreed to facilitate the departures, but by Saturday evening there had been no movement.
There were believed to be some 1,500 people in Gaza holding Western passports and additional people with passports from other parts of the world.
Fearing a mass exodus of Palestinians, Egyptian authorities erected “temporary” blast walls on Egypt’s side of the crossing, which has been closed for days because of Israeli airstrikes, two Egyptian officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.
Israel’s raids into Gaza on Friday were the first acknowledgment that Israeli troops had entered the territory since the military began its round-the-clock bombardment in retaliation for the Hamas massacre. Palestinian militants have fired more than 5,500 rockets into Israel since the fighting erupted, the Israeli military said.
Israel has called up some 360,000 military reserves and massed troops and tanks along the border with Gaza. A ground assault in densely populated Gaza would likely bring even higher casualties on both sides in brutal house-to-house fighting.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan in Riyadh on Saturday, and both called for Israel to protect civilians in Gaza.
“As Israel pursues its legitimate right to defend its people and to trying to ensure that this never happens again, it is vitally important that all of us look out for for civilians, and we’re working together to do exactly that,” Blinken said.
Hamas said Israel’s airstrikes killed 22 hostages, including foreigners. It did not provide their nationalities. The Israeli military denied the claim. Hamas and other Palestinian militants hope to trade the hostages for thousands of Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.
In the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Health Ministry says 53 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war, including 16 on Friday. The U.N. says attacks by Israeli settlers have surged there since the Hamas assault.
The U.S. and Israel’s other allies have pledged ironclad support for the war on Hamas. The European Union’s foreign policy chief, however, said Saturday that the Israeli military needed to give people more time to leave northern Gaza.
“You cannot move such a volume of people in (a) short period of time,” Josep Borrell said.
Krauss reported from Jerusalem. Associated Press writers Isabel DeBre and Julia Frankel in Jerusalem, Samya Kullab in Baghdad, Samy Magdy in Cairo, Ashraf Sweilam in El-Arish, Egypt, Kareem Chehayeb in Beirut and Matthew Lee in Riyadh contributed to this report.
Left: Palestinian children collect water, amid the ongoing Israeli-Hamas war, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, Oct. 14, 2023. Photo by Ahmed Zakot/REUTERS
By Matthew Lee, Lolita C. Baldor, Associated Press
By Nick Schifrin, Dorothy Hastings
By Samy Magdy, Jack Jeffery, Associated Press
By Laura Santhanam
By Amna Nawaz, Geoff Bennett, Leila Molana-Allen, Sam Lane, Mike Fritz, Jorgen Samso


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Ecosystems Restoration (General) – Everglades Forever Act (EFA) – Florida Department of Environmental Protection


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The Office of Ecosystem Projects is the lead office responsible for implementation of the following Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) responsibilities under the Everglades Forever Act (EFA) pursuant to Chapter 373.4592 of the Florida Statutes:
The Everglades Forever Act was passed in 1994. The long-term water quality objective for the Everglades is to implement the optimal combination of source controls, stormwater treatment areas, advanced treatment technologies and regulatory programs to ensure that all waters discharged to the Everglades Protection Area achieve water quality standards consistent with the EFA.
The Restoration Planning and Permitting Section of the Bureau of Assessment and Restoration Support is responsible for coordinating with DEP staff, state and federal agencies, industry representatives and other groups on permitting activities required under the EFA.
The Everglades Forever Act requires the state of Florida to:
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U.S. Winter Outlook: Wetter South, warmer North – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Chunks of ice float in the James River in Richmond, Virginia. (Image credit: Getty)
This year, El Nino is in place heading into winter for the first time in four years, driving the outlook for warmer-than-average temperatures for the northern tier of the continental United States, according to NOAA’s U.S. Winter Outlook released today by the Climate Prediction Center — a division of the National Weather Service. 
“These outlooks provide critical guidance on the upcoming season for many industries and sectors of our economy, from energy producers to commodities markets to agricultural interests to tourism,” said Sarah Kapnick, Ph.D., NOAA chief scientist. “With a strengthening El Nino and more potential climate extremes in an already record-breaking year, we’re lucky to have scientists like those at the Climate Prediction Center helping to build a Weather and Climate-Ready Nation by providing critical operational seasonal climate predictions.”

From December through February, NOAA predicts wetter-than-average conditions for northern Alaska, portions of the West, the southern Plains, Southeast, Gulf Coast and lower mid-Atlantic and drier-than-average conditions across the northern tier of the U.S., especially in the northern Rockies and High Plains and near the Great Lakes.
“An enhanced southern jet stream and associated moisture often present during strong El Nino events supports high odds for above-average precipitation for the Gulf Coast, lower Mississippi Valley and Southeast states this winter,” said Jon Gottschalck, chief of the Operational Prediction Branch of the Climate Prediction Center.
NOAA forecasters, in collaboration with the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS), continue to monitor extreme, ongoing drought conditions that have persisted through the southern and central U.S. and worsening drought in Hawaii. 
“According to the Oct. 17 U.S. Drought Monitor, a third of the country, including Puerto Rico, is in drought,” said Brad Pugh, operational drought lead with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “During late October, heavy precipitation is likely to result in drought improvement for the central U.S. El Nino with its enhanced precipitation is expected to provide drought relief to the southern U.S. during the next few months.”
 
Temperature
Precipitation
Drought
About NOAA’s seasonal outlooks
NOAA’s seasonal outlooks provide the likelihood that temperatures and total precipitation amounts will be above-, near- or below-average, and how drought conditions are anticipated to change in the months ahead. The outlook does not project seasonal snowfall accumulations as snow forecasts are generally not predictable more than a week in advance. 
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center updates the three-month outlook each month. The next update will be available November 16. 
Seasonal outlooks help communities prepare for what is likely to come in the months ahead and minimize weather’s impacts on lives and livelihoods. Resources such as drought.gov and climate.gov provide comprehensive tools to better understand and plan for climate-driven hazards. Empowering people with actionable forecasts, seasonal predictions and winter weather safety tips is key to NOAA’s effort to build a more Weather– and Climate-Ready Nation.
Winter forecasting tools: Here’s what’s new at NOAA this year
 
 
Media contact
Sarah Teefey, nws.pa@noaa.gov

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Water Shortage Order issued for Pinellas County – Pinellas County

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Due to the current drought conditions, the Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) has issued a modified Phase I Water Shortage Order that includes Pinellas County. The order goes into effect on Dec. 1, 2023.  
To best conserve water, Pinellas County Utilities (PCU) will move to one-day-per-week watering restrictions for all customers. PCU urges every water user to reduce wasteful and unnecessary water use and be prepared for more stringent restrictions if drought conditions worsen.
Customers should monitor Pinellas County Utilities’ water restrictions webpage at pinellas.gov/watering-schedule-and-rules for up-to-date information, as restrictions can change at any time. The current authorized irrigation schedule using reclaimed, potable, well, lake or pond sources for Utilities customers is as follows: 
Watering is not permitted between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Under the modified Phase 1 Water Shortage order, SWFWMD dictates that utilities will issue warnings that do not carry a fine for the first offence. A second offence will receive a citation that carries a $193 fine. If water shortage conditions worsen and a Phase 2 order is issued, any offense will receive a citation and $193 fine.
Residents who do not receive their water from PCU should verify their watering days and restrictions with their water supplier. For more information about water restrictions and water conservation tips, visit pinellas.gov/water-conservation
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El Niño expected to last at least until April 2024 – World Meteorological Organization WMO

The ongoing El Niño event is expected to last at least until April 2024, influencing weather patterns and contributing to a further spike in temperatures both on land and in the ocean, according to a new Update from the World Meteorological Organization.
As of mid-October 2023, sea surface temperatures and other atmospheric and oceanic indicators in the central-eastern tropical Pacific are consistent with El Niño, the warm phase of El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The El Niño developed rapidly during July-August, and reached moderate strength by September, 2023 and is likely to peak as a strong event in November – January 2024. There is a 90% likelihood it will persist throughout the upcoming northern hemisphere winter/southern hemisphere summer.
Based on historical patterns and current long-range predictions, it is anticipated it will gradually diminish during the forthcoming boreal spring, says the WMO El Niño/La Niña Update, which combines forecasts and expert guidance from around the world.
El Niño occurs on average every two to seven years, and typically last nine to 12 months. It is a naturally occurring climate pattern associated with warming of the ocean surface in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. But it takes place in the context of a climate being changed by human activities.
« El Niño impacts on global temperature typically play out in the year after its development, in this case in 2024. But as a result of record high land and sea-surface  temperatures since June, the year 2023 is now on track to be the warmest year on record. Next year may be even warmer. This is clearly and unequivocally due to the contribution of the increasing concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases from human activities,” said WMO Secretary-General Prof. Petteri Taalas.
“Extreme events such as heatwaves, drought, wildfires, heavy rain and floods will be enhanced in some regions, with major impacts. That is why WMO is committed to the Early Warnings For All initiative to save lives and minimize economic losses,” said Prof. Taalas.
The previous warmest year on record was 2016 due to a “double whammy” of an exceptionally strong El Niño and climate change.
Since May 2023, monthly average sea surface temperature anomalies in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific have warmed significantly, rising from about 0.5 °C above average in May, 2023) to around 1.5 °C above average in September, 2023. These estimates are relative to the 1991-2020 baseline period, using the latest version of the Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature (OISST) dataset.
The most recent forecasts and expert assessment suggest a high likelihood of continued warming in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific for at least the next four overlapping 3-month seasons: November-January, December-February, January-March, and February-April 2024.
A strong El Niño does not necessarily mean strong El Niño impacts locally. It is important to note that El Niño is not the only factor that drives global and regional climate patterns, and that the magnitudes of El Niño indicators do not directly correspond to the magnitudes of their effects. No two El Niño events are alike.
Given that ENSO is not the only driver of the Earth’s climate system, WMO also issues regular Global Seasonal Climate Updates (GSCU), which incorporate influences of the other major climate variability modes such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Arctic Oscillation and the Indian Ocean Dipole.
“Consistent with the development of an El Niño in the equatorial central and eastern Pacific, together with the prediction of above-normal sea-surface temperatures over much of the global oceans, there is widespread prediction of above-normal temperatures over almost all land areas. The largest increase in probabilities for above-normal temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere is predicted generally south of about 40°N and in the regions north of 65°N. There are also enhanced probabilities for above-normal temperatures over most of the Southern Hemisphere.” says the GSCU for November-December-January.
Predictions for rainfall in the forthcoming three months are similar to many of the typical impacts of El Niño, including above-normal rainfall in the Greater Horn of Africa (for the remainder of the rainfall season), in Parana/La Plata basin in South America, in Southeast North America, in parts of central and eastern Asia and in a narrow band along and just north of the equator in the Pacific. Below-normal rainfall is predicted in most of northern South America, over much of Australia, in the Maritime continent (most of Indonesia, Borneo, Papua New Guinea and the Philippine Islands) and in the Pacific Ocean islands south of about 30°N, and immediately to the north of the wet band.
The WMO Updates are based on WMO Global Producing Centres of Long-Range Forecasts and are available to support governments, the United Nations, decision-makers and stakeholders in climate-sensitive sectors to mobilize preparations and protect lives and livelihoods.
More detailed interpretations of the implications of El Niño (and other factors) impacts on temperature and precipitation will be made available through the WMO Regional Climate Centres at regional level, and by National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) at national and local level.
The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation in atmospheric science and meteorology.
WMO monitors weather, climate, and water resources and provides support to its Members in forecasting and disaster mitigation. The organization is committed to advancing scientific knowledge and improving public safety and well-being through its work.

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are El Nino and La Nina? – NOAA's National Ocean Service

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Warmer or colder than average ocean temperatures in one part of the world can influence weather around the globe. Watch this Ocean Today video to see how this works.
During normal conditions in the Pacific ocean, trade winds blow west along the equator, taking warm water from South America towards Asia. To replace that warm water, cold water rises from the depths — a process called upwelling. El Niño and La Niña are two opposing climate patterns that break these normal conditions. Scientists call these phenomena the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle. El Niño and La Niña can both have global impacts on weather, wildfires, ecosystems, and economies. Episodes of El Niño and La Niña typically last nine to 12 months, but can sometimes last for years. El Niño and La Niña events occur every two to seven years, on average, but they don’t occur on a regular schedule. Generally, El Niño occurs more frequently than La Niña.

El Niño

During El Niño, trade winds weaken. Warm water is pushed back east, toward the west coast of the Americas.
El Niño means Little Boy in Spanish. South American fishermen first noticed periods of unusually warm water in the Pacific Ocean in the 1600s. The full name they used was El Niño de Navidad, because El Niño typically peaks around December.
El Niño can affect our weather significantly. The warmer waters cause the Pacific jet stream to move south of its neutral position. With this shift, areas in the northern U.S. and Canada are dryer and warmer than usual. But in the U.S. Gulf Coast and Southeast, these periods are wetter than usual and have increased flooding.
El Niño causes the Pacific jet stream to move south and spread further east. During winter, this leads to wetter conditions than usual in the Southern U.S. and warmer and drier conditions in the North.
El Niño also has a strong effect on marine life off the Pacific coast. During normal conditions, upwelling brings water from the depths to the surface; this water is cold and nutrient rich. During El Niño, upwelling weakens or stops altogether. Without the nutrients from the deep, there are fewer phytoplankton off the coast. This affects fish that eat phytoplankton and, in turn, affects everything that eats fish. The warmer waters can also bring tropical species, like yellowtail and albacore tuna, into areas that are normally too cold.
La Niña means Little Girl in Spanish. La Niña is also sometimes called El Viejo, anti-El Niño, or simply "a cold event." La Niña has the opposite effect of El Niño. During La Niña events, trade winds are even stronger than usual, pushing more warm water toward Asia. Off the west coast of the Americas, upwelling increases, bringing cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface.
These cold waters in the Pacific push the jet stream northward. This tends to lead to drought in the southern U.S. and heavy rains and flooding in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. During a La Niña year, winter temperatures are warmer than normal in the South and cooler than normal in the North. La Niña can also lead to a more severe hurricane season.
La Niña causes the jet stream to move northward and to weaken over the eastern Pacific. During La Niña winters, the South sees warmer and drier conditions than usual. The North and Canada tend to be wetter and colder.
During La Niña, waters off the Pacific coast are colder and contain more nutrients than usual. This environment supports more marine life and attracts more cold-water species, like squid and salmon, to places like the California coast.



Author: NOAA
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Scientific Consensus – Science@NASA

It’s important to remember that scientists always focus on the evidence, not on opinions. Scientific evidence continues to show that human activities (primarily the human burning of fossil fuels) have warmed Earth’s surface and its ocean basins, which in turn have continued to impact Earth’s climate. This is based on over a century of scientific evidence forming the structural backbone of today’s civilization.
NASA Global Climate Change presents the state of scientific knowledge about climate change while highlighting the role NASA plays in better understanding our home planet. This effort includes citing multiple peer-reviewed studies from research groups across the world,1 illustrating the accuracy and consensus of research results (in this case, the scientific consensus on climate change) consistent with NASA’s scientific research portfolio.
With that said, multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals1 show that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. The following is a partial list of these organizations, along with links to their published statements and a selection of related resources.
“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.” (2009)2
“Based on well-established evidence, about 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.” (2014)3
“The Earth’s climate is changing in response to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and particulate matter in the atmosphere, largely as the result of human activities.” (2016-2019)4
“Based on extensive scientific evidence, it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. There is no alterative explanation supported by convincing evidence.” (2019)5
“Our AMA … supports the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s fourth assessment report and concurs with the scientific consensus that the Earth is undergoing adverse global climate change and that anthropogenic contributions are significant.” (2019)6
“Research has found a human influence on the climate of the past several decades … The IPCC (2013), USGCRP (2017), and USGCRP (2018) indicate that it is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-twentieth century.” (2019)7
“Earth’s changing climate is a critical issue and poses the risk of significant environmental, social and economic disruptions around the globe. While natural sources of climate variability are significant, multiple lines of evidence indicate that human influences have had an increasingly dominant effect on global climate warming observed since the mid-twentieth century.” (2015)8
“The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2011), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (Melillo et al., 2014) that global climate has warmed in response to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases … Human activities (mainly greenhouse-gas emissions) are the dominant cause of the rapid warming since the middle 1900s (IPCC, 2013).” (2015)9
“Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001).” (2005, 11 international science academies)10
“Scientists have known for some time, from multiple lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate, primarily through greenhouse gas emissions.”11
“Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities.” (2018, 13 U.S. government departments and agencies)12
“It is unequivocal that the increase of CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide in the atmosphere over the industrial era is the result of human activities and that human influence is the principal driver of many changes observed across the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere.

“Since systematic scientific assessments began in the 1970s, the influence of human activity on the warming of the climate system has evolved from theory to established fact.”13-17
The following page lists the nearly 200 worldwide scientific organizations that hold the position that climate change has been caused by human action.
http://www.opr.ca.gov/facts/list-of-scientific-organizations.html
The following page contains information on what federal agencies are doing to adapt to climate change.
https://www.c2es.org/site/assets/uploads/2012/02/climate-change-adaptation-what-federal-agencies-are-doing.pdf
Technically, a “consensus” is a general agreement of opinion, but the scientific method steers us away from this to an objective framework. In science, facts or observations are explained by a hypothesis (a statement of a possible explanation for some natural phenomenon), which can then be tested and retested until it is refuted (or disproved).
As scientists gather more observations, they will build off one explanation and add details to complete the picture. Eventually, a group of hypotheses might be integrated and generalized into a scientific theory, a scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.
1. K. Myers, et al, “Consensus revisited: quantifying scientific agreement on climate change and climate expertise among Earth scientists 10 years later”, Environmental Research Letters Vol.16 No. 10, 104030 (20 October 2021); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/ac2774

M. Lynas, et al, “Greater than 99% consensus on human caused climate change in the peer-reviewed scientific literature”, Environmental Research Letters Vol.16 No. 11, 114005 (19 October 2021); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/ac2966

J. Cook et al., “Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming”, Environmental Research Letters Vol. 11 No. 4, (13 April 2016); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/11/4/048002

J. Cook et al., “Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature”, Environmental Research Letters Vol. 8 No. 2, (15 May 2013); DOI:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024

W. R. L. Anderegg, “Expert Credibility in Climate Change”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Vol. 107 No. 27, 12107-12109 (21 June 2010); DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003187107

P. T. Doran & M. K. Zimmerman, “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”, Eos Transactions American Geophysical Union Vol. 90 Issue 3 (2009), 22; DOI: 10.1029/2009EO030002

N. Oreskes, “Beyond the Ivory Tower: The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”, Science Vol. 306 no. 5702, p. 1686 (3 December 2004); DOI: 10.1126/science.1103618
2. Statement on climate change from 18 scientific associations (2009)
3. AAAS Board Statement on Climate Change (2014)
4. ACS Public Policy Statement: Climate Change (2016-2019)
5. Society Must Address the Growing Climate Crisis Now (2019)
6. Global Climate Change and Human Health (2019)
7. Climate Change: An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society (2019)
8. American Physical Society (2021)
9. GSA Position Statement on Climate Change (2015)
10. Joint science academies’ statement: Global response to climate change (2005)
11. Climate at the National Academies
12. Fourth National Climate Assessment: Volume II (2018)
13. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers, SPM 1.1 (2014)
14. IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, Summary for Policymakers, SPM 1 (2014)
15. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group 1 (2021)
16. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group 2 (2022)
17. IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group 3 (2022)
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