The transition from La Nina, to El Nino is going to have a major impact on humans, especially here on the Suncoast. And to add to the soon to be El Nino season, we are already experiencing record high sea surface temperatures. 

“El Nino is when the pacific water in a zone off of South America, that extends from South America out into the Central Pacific, becomes warmer than normal”, said Bob Bunting.

Bunting, Chief Scientist at Climate Adaptation Center in Sarasota, says he is interested in seeing how the record high sea surface temperatures and the El Nino will interact during the hurricane season.

Mark Bourassa, Professor of Meteorology at Florida State university, and Bunting both agree, during the El Nino, the odds are in our favor, we will have less destructive hurricanes in the formation areas, this hurricane season.

“But it shifts the jet streams, and what happens is that wind shear in the hurricane formation areas of the Atlantic Basin usually increases, as the El Nino’s increase", said Bob Bunting.

Bunting says, due to this wind shear increasing during El Ninos, hurricanes are not as destructive.

Mark Bourassa, says El Nino’s change the atmospheric circulation globally. But he also says it will have a major impact on this years hurricane season, here on the Suncoast.

“Winds aloft, will be different than the winds below. So, if the winds below the hurricane are moving at the same speed as the winds aloft, you tend to have a better chance of the hurricane forming. But if they move at different speeds, or in different directions, then it pulls the top off the hurricane. And they don’t form well under those conditions”, said Mark Bourassa.

The developing El Nino is expected to last 3 to 5 years, and it is going to bring wetter weather here on the Suncoast, especially during the winter.

Higher than normal temperatures are expected to occur during this El Nino period.