The will-we-or-won't-we game has begun with regard to the "Godzilla El Niño" taking shape off our coast, and this week we got the U.S. Climate Prediction Center’s monthly update which only confirmed everything we'd already been hearing. This winter's El Niño, looking at the sheer mass of warm surface water there is in the Pacific, could rival the big one we saw in '97-'98, but scientists are being cautious in promising rain, especially for Northern California, because the big warm-water blob, unrelated to El Niño, could keep our part of the state relatively dry, AGAIN.
The handy explainer video above by the New York Times does a nice job of explaining the ocean temperature thing for laymen, and they note that the 2010, while wet for all of California, actually meant warmer temperatures and little snow up in Vancouver, where the Winter Olympics were happening that year.
And we get a good quote from Michael L. Anderson, California’s state climatologist, who notes that we really don't have enough El Niño events to compare to each other since good records have been kept over the past 60 years. “You’re working with a very small sample set," he says. "The one important element is that El Niño events are associated with large variability of outcome."