El Niño could be the most powerful on record, scientists say

Rong-Gong Lin II & Rosanna Xia, LOS ANGELES TIMES
A key location of the Pacific Ocean is now hotter than recorded in at least 25 years, surpassing the temperatures during the record 1997 El Niño.
Some scientists say their measurements show that this year’s El Niño could be among the most powerful on record — and even topple the 1997 event from its pedestal.
“This thing is still growing and it’s definitely warmer than it was in 1997,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. As far as the temperature readings go, “it’s now bypassed the previous champ of the modern satellite era — the 1997 El Niño has just been toppled by 2015.”
Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at Stanford University, called the temperature reading significant. It is the highest such weekly temperature above the average in 25 years of modern record keeping in this key region of the Pacific Ocean west of Peru.
“This is a very impressive number,” Swain said, adding that data suggest that this El Niño is still warming up. “It does look like it’s possible that there’s still additional warming” to come.“
We’re definitely in the top tier of El Niño events,” Swain said.
Temperatures in this key area of the Pacific Ocean rose to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit above average for the week of Nov. 11. That exceeds the highest comparable reading for the most powerful El Niño on record, when temperatures rose 5 degrees Fahrenheit above the average the week of Thanksgiving in 1997.
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