OURAY COUNTY: Snowpack on track, El Niño rising
By Bill Tiedje
As this winter winds down with a near-average snowpack in the mountains, some signs are beginning to point to a snowy winter next year.
An "El Niño Watch" has been posted by the U.S. National Weather Service, noting that while neutral El Niño conditions persist this spring in the northern hemisphere, chances of El Niño conditions are likely to increase the remainder of the year.
El Niño is term used to describe the continuous warming of sea surface temperatures for three months out of five months in the Pacific Ocean near the equator.
This trend of warming ocean temperatures has been associated with a pattern of weather conditions across the continent.