JPL Scientist: Massive El Niño Is Now ‘Too Big to Fail’

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Satellite images comparing Oct. 1, 2015, and Oct. 2, 1997, show a large area of white, which indicate high sea levels, which reflect high sea temperatures. The image shows how this year’s El Nino could be as powerful as the one in 1997, the strongest El Nino on record. (Credit: NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

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A massive El Niño is among the strongest on record as it gains strength in the Pacific Ocean, and climate scientists say California is likely to face a wet winter.

“There’s no longer a possibility that El Niño wimps out at this point. It’s too big to fail,” said Bill Patzert, climatologist for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge.

“And the winter over North America is definitely not going to be normal,” Patzert said.

Just three weeks ago, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center raised the odds of California getting doused with a wetter-than-average winter. Southern California now has more than a  60% chance of a wet winter, a 33% chance of a normal winter and less than a 7% chance of a dry winter.

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