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Monsoon may end later than usual in the year

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Monsoon may end later than usual in the year

Post Number:#1  Postby timyang » Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:59 am

This year's La Nina event, a cyclical cooling of the Pacific Ocean, could be one for the record books, according to new satellite data from NASA. Satellite images of the Pacific Ocean reveal La Nina stayed strong in the final two months of 2010.

"The solid record of La Nina strength only goes back about 50 years and this latest event appears to be one of the strongest ones over this time period," said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

Patzert said this powerful La Nina's effects can be felt around the world, and researchers say it is partially responsible for the floods now devastating Australia.

"The copious rainfall is a direct result of La Nina's effect on the Pacific trade winds and has made tropical Australia particularly rainy this year," said David Adamec, an oceanographer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Md.

"Although exacerbated by precipitation from a tropical cyclone, rainfalls of historic proportion in eastern Queensland, Australia have led to levels of flooding usually only seen once in a century," Adamec said.

The new NASA satellite image depicts sea surface height, which is linked to sea temperature as water expands when it heats up and becomes more compact as it cools. The cooler-than-normal pool of water that stretches from the eastern to the central Pacific Ocean is a hallmark of a La Nina event.

"This La Nina has strengthened for the past seven months, and is one of the most intense events of the past half century," Patzert said.
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