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U.S. Geological Survey El Niño Information

Other potential sources of El Niño information

Animation video showing how El Nino and La Nina occur.

Watch a cool animation that shows how shifting trade winds, ocean water temperatures, and the jet stream influence extreme weather

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Screenshot from the cencoos web page.Central and Northern California Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS)

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

News Stories


The crumbling Coastside: Winter leaves ominous signs of erosion — Apr. 2016
“A more recent USGS study showed that, along a stretch of coast from Daly City to Pacifica, the rate of erosion over the last several decades has increased dramatically. Just how bad is it? ‘Fifty percent over the long-term historical rates,’ wrote USGS Coastal Geologist Patrick Barnard in an email to the Review. The change illustrates an increase from 1.3 feet per year to 2 feet per year.”

Video: USGS says it’s getting closer to predicting landslidesKRON 4, Mar. 2016
“The United States Geological Survey said they are getting closer to being able to predict landslides.”

Potential for Landslides in Pacifica Reach 'High Risk Zone': USGS — NBC Bay Area, Mar. 2016
“Geologists with the USGS said the potential for landslides in Pacifica has now reached a risky level, adding to the concerns homeowners along the coast have over erosion.”

Living on the Edge: County weighs Sisyphean task of managing cliff erosion as coastline recedesGoodTimes, Mar. 2016
“This winter has the largest waves on record, and wave energy is 30 percent higher than average, according to the USGS. The bigger the wave and the higher the tide, the greater the damage—and in El Niño years like this one when sea levels rise, the threat of cliff failure also increases.”

RISING SEAS: El Niño pummels coast in preview of warmer worldE&E Publishing Greenwire, Feb. 2016
“Wave energy, judged by its size and force, usually increases by 20 to 30 percent during El Niño years, USGS's Patrick Barnard said.”

Pacifica: Amid El Niño, city backs controversial coastal developmentSan Mateo County Times (San Jose Mercury News), Feb. 2016
“As much as half of the property could be eaten away by the year 2100, according to coastal erosion predictions produced by Our Coast, Our Future (a collaboration between government agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey and nonprofits).”

Prodigious plumes present provocative puzzleWest Hawaii Today, Feb. 2016
“According to the latest forecasts, we can expect this year’s El Niño to hang on until early summer (kau wela). If this prediction comes true, it’s likely that tall, vertically rising eruption plumes will adorn the skies above our steadily active volcano, giving Kilauea’s dedicated observers plenty to watch.”

Bay Area Landslide Risk Goes Up as Rains Pour DownKQED Science, Feb. 2016
“How bad this year will be for landslides all depends upon how intense the rains will be,” says Brian Collins, a researcher at the U. S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park. “The water has been pretty constant so there is a danger.”

Perilous cliffhangers of Pacifica tell a cautionary tale — SF Chronicle, Jan. 2016
“The evacuation this week of a third 1960s-era apartment complex teetering on the edge of sheer cliffs in Pacifica was a climax in a slow-motion disaster made possible by a development boom that geologists now see as a lesson for California on how not to build on the coast.”

El Niño lets landslide scientists get back to their researchSan Jose Mercury News, Jan. 2016
“Jonathan Stock, a research geologist at the USGS in Menlo Park, and his colleagues set up four monitoring stations mostly to address the timing—the ‘when’—of shallow landslides.”

What to Know Before Buying a Home on a, Jan. 2016
“The U.S. Geological Survey—which studies the impact of storms and erosion on shorelines—has found that the cliffs in Pacifica have been retreating at an average rate of about 2 feet per year since 1950.”

The state, the drought and El Niño: It’s complicatedUC Berkeley News, Jan. 2016
“B. Lynn Ingram, a geologist specializing in paleoclimatology, studies past climate history by examining natural archives — trees, sediments, shells, microfossils — and takes a long-term perspective to predict what the climate could have in store for us.”

Bolivia's Second Largest Lake Has Dried Out. Can It Be Saved?National Geographic News, Jan. 2016
“El Niño, climate change, and mismanagement of water are all to blame, scientists say.”

Roger Bales: Sierra is white with snow, but more drought solutions neededThe Modesto Bee, Jan. 2016
“Yes, it’s raining and snowing, but drought damages must be addressed.”

Pajaro Valley farmers cautiously optimistic about El Nino — Santa Cruz Sentinel Weather, Jan. 2016
“The much anticipated arrival of rain means local agricultural can start shifting gears, but they’re not overly optimistic because the drought isn’t over yet.”

Snapshot of news video featuring USGS hydrologist Antony Guerriero.US Geological Survey calibrates system used to measure rushing News Video, Jan. 2016
“The [San Francisco] Bay Area's recent El Nino-fueled storms have helped rivers and creeks rise to levels we haven't seen in years.”

Concerns rise about mudslides in Monterey, Jan. 2016
“Higher-than-average rainfall Jan. 3-9, in the midst of an El Niño winter, has raised concerns about landslides and mudslides in Monterey County.”

California braces for week of El Niño storms, mudslides, flash floodsAl Jazeera America, Jan. 2016
“The U.S. Geological Survey has conducted hazard assessments for post-wildfire debris flows in four recently burned areas in Southern California.

El Nino Fuels Mudslides, Hard to Predict News, Jan. 2016
“According to the USGS [Landslide Hazards] website, the most serious immediate risk is from shallow landslides that become so wet that they can move rapidly over long distances ...up to 35 miles per hour.”

Tracking San Diego River Levels During El Niño, Jan. 2016
“The U.S. Geological Survey is closely monitoring conditions with a small, boat-like instrument called an acoustic Doppler profiler, which is floated back and forth across the river.”

Starvation suspected in massive die-off of Alaska's The Big Story, Jan. 2016
“An estimated 8,000 common murres were found dead on the Whittier beach, said John Piatt, research wildlife biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey's Alaska Science Center... Warmer water surface temperatures, possibly due to global warming or the El Nino weather pattern, may have affected murre prey.”


Debris flow and recent burn areasLA, Dec. 2015
“The U.S. Geological Survey has studied select fire burn areas to determine their vulnerability to flash floods and debris flows.

California's drought plus El Niño increase the threat of a muddy disasterLA, Dec. 2015
“Debris flow has long been a concern in areas where wildfires have recently burned. Vegetation, once burned, can no longer hold back loose sediment. The burned slopes can also become 'water repellent,' said Jason Kean, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist whose research focuses on debris flow.”

Slip-sliding Away: Heavy El Niño rains could trigger mudslides in California this winter; these scientists are trying to figure out the whens and wheres —, Dec. 2015
“Brian Collins, an engineer and landslide expert with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California, says, 'We learned [from strong El Niños in the past] that sandier soils, rather than clay soils with small particles, tended to cause debris flows that careened out into neighborhoods.'”

5 things about El Niño: Biggest effects yet to comeKIRO, Dec. 2015

White christmas forecast: El Niño to dash hopes of snowy holiday for two-thirds of, Dec. 2015

El Niño 2015 reaching its peak - now what?, Dec. 2015

El Niño’s extreme effects: Corals around this island aren’t just bleaching — they’re dyingWashington, Dec. 2015

El Nino threat is being taken very seriously
Above normal precipitation anticipated this winter
Daily, Dec. 2015

Is this California pier the first victim of El Niño?, Dec. 2015

Will this strong El Niño take away your white christmas?The Weather, Dec. 2015

Murre dieoff causing concern — Shorebirds found inland, emaciatedHomer, Dec. 2015

Don't just blame El Nino for weatherWSB, Dec. 2015

El Nino Forecast for California: Batten Down the Science, Nov. 2015

Winter 2015-2016 outlook: 5 things to expectThe Weather, Nov. 2015

USGS using monitoring system to predict bay area landslidesKPIX, Nov. 2015

USGS sensor network aims to predict Bay Area, Nov. 2015

How much rain is El Niño bringing? “One storm after another like a conveyor belt”, Nov. 2015

With El Niño, be careful what you wish, Nov. 2015

Research teams try to get a handle on Marin mudslidesMarin Independent, Nov. 2015

El Niño brings flooding concerns to fire-ravaged, Nov. 2015

Death valley flooding provides yet another alarming El Niño, Nov. 2015

Erosion scientists: Roaring El Niño waves will be ‘big test’Chinook Observer, Oct. 2015

Wet forecast a sign of El Niño’s growing influence on DFW’s weatherStar, Oct. 2015

How rain turns dirt into, Oct. 2015

Devastating chart shows why El Niño won’t fix the, Oct. 2015

This devastating chart shows why even a powerful El Niño won’t fix the droughtMother, Oct. 2015

USGS Study: Severe El Niño and La Niña will lead to extreme coastal floods,, Sept. 2015

Coastal communities could be in for some trouble
A strong El Niño and La Niña could cause flooding and erosion along the Pacific, according to new research
Pacific Standard, Sept. 2015

El Niño and La Niña boost coastal hazards across Pacificreporting climate, Sept. 2015

Todd Dwyer: El Niño? Be careful what we wish, July 2015

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