Image of unusually warm ocean temperatures off Asia and cool waters in the eastern and equatorial Pacific signaling La Niña's mild return. Lower than normal sea-surface heights in the eastern North Pacific and abnormally high sea-surface heights in the western and mid-latitude Pacific are expected to drive storms coming out of the Pacific this winter. Those conditions will most likely steer storms north into the Pacific Northwest and keep the southwestern United States dryer than normal. Sea-surface height is shown relative to normal (green) and reveals cooler water (blue and purple) measuring between 8 and 24 centimeters (3 to 9 inches) lower than average in the eastern North Pacific, from the Gulf of Alaska to central Alaska, and along the equator. Unusual conditions persist in the western and mid-latitude Pacific Ocean as well, with higher than average sea-surface heights(red and white) of between 8 and 24 centimeters (3 to 9 inches). These areas of increased sea-surface height and unusually warm water were present last year, but the increase in height has surpassed last year's measurements.
Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech [0003-0701-0819-3736] by 0003
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