Dolphins, Pelagic Red Crab, Sun Fish Point to El Nino Coming to Northern California

Dolphins, Pelagic Red Crab, Sun Fish Point to El Nino Coming to Northern California

Strong evidence that California Drought is over is turning up.

Last week as a large research boat drifted through the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, science was getting scrutinized through binoculars and even the naked eye.

For the 12th year in a row, researchers from Point Blue Conservation Science, the Gulf of Farallones and Cordell Bank Marine Sanctuaries were spending 10 days on the ocean outside the Golden Gate Bridge taking a scientific snapshot of ocean life.

But this year’s gathering turned-up some unusual phenomenon, which scientists believe are signs of an El Nino year – which draws unusually warm waters to Northern California. For the first time in decades, scientists saw schools of hundreds of common dolphins which aren’t common to the Bay Area, but rather the typically warm waters of Southern California.

“It’s a sign the water is more warm than we normally see,” Roletto said. “And that’s a sign of El Nino.”

Warming waters in the tropical Pacific, El Niño, are heading toward historic levels and forecast models show no signs of slowing by the time California’s rainy season hits this winter. There is no guarantee what El Niño will bring in terms of rain or snow, but we are seeing at least three signs of its powerful impact.

Record-Setting Pacific Hurricane Season.The eastern Pacific tropical season started May 15 with two major hurricanes by early June, a record for the basin. When Hurricane Dolores formed in mid-July, it set a record for becoming the earliest third Category 4 storm in a season. This storm was also a record breaker for California. Even though it weakened below tropical strength, it delivered record setting rain to the southern part of the state. To date there have been eight storms, six of which have been hurricanes. A strengthening El Niño is helping to fuel these tropical systems with warm water and little wind shear.

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