El Niño Has Arrived, Could Produce Warmest Year on Record, Violent TornadoesSo you’re done with winter huh? Now you can get ready for what may be one of the hottest Summers on Record! That’s because after months and months of teasing forecasters, El Niño has officially arrived, and it’s set to boost what they are calling “global warming” to new record levels. And what exactly is a “El Nino”? El Niño is one of the Earth’s most powerful climate signals, with the ability to shift weather patterns worldwide. It typically happens only two or three times in a decade, and its most important feature is its predictability. Once in place, El Niños normally linger for months, giving affected regions time to prepare for impacts. Another great concern is the greater chance of widespread “Tornado Outbreaks” that could be generated from an El Nino such as in 2011 where more than 1,600 confirmed tornadoes touched down in the United States. The twisters killed more than 550 people, injured more than 5,400, and resulted in economic damage that soared into the billions. By mid-July 2013, close to 500 confirmed tornadoes had already touched down, killing 44 people, half during the single storm that hit Moore, Okla., on May 20. Although individual tornadoes can’t be predicted, new research from a team of scientists at NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory in Miami, Fla., suggests that severe tornado outbreaks may be linked to specific weather patterns.  The El Niño Southern Oscillation also appears to have some impact on the conditions that lead to exceptional tornado outbreaks, says David Enfield, a physical oceanographer at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and co-author of a new study in the Journal of Climate. Specifically, past studies have indicated that large tornadic events are linked to Trans-Niño years, characterized by trans-Niño index (TNI) values during either the onset or ebbing of El Niño or La Niña conditions, when variation in sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean can be considerable. Why the transitional years seemed to spawn more tornadoes remains unknown. SOURCESThe Slatest / Earth