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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, September 15, 2006

Weak El Niño may affect Hawai'i's, world's climate

Associated Press

MIAMI — Weak El Niño conditions have developed in the Pacific Ocean, so this winter will likely be warmer in the West, rainier along the Gulf Coast and drier in the Ohio Valley and Pacific Northwest, federal scientists say.

The same conditions are also helping make this Atlantic hurricane season slower than originally predicted, said scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Md.

El Niño is a warming of the water in the tropical Pacific that is associated with changes in air pressure and the movement of high-level winds that can affect weather worldwide. The conditions are likely to continue into early next year.

That generally would mean drier-than-average conditions across Hawai'i, said Ray Tanaka, the National Weather Service's lead forecaster in Honolulu.

"Because it's a weak El Nino, it makes weather models more nebulous. But in general, it means possibly stronger surf periods along the North Shore and — because of the warmer water south of us — an extended hurricane season," Tanaka said.

Advertiser staffers contributed to this story.