College of Science & Engineering Alumni Newsletter

Fall 1997

Batten Down the Hatches?

John Monteverdi, Chair of Geosciences and Professor of Meteorology, studies severe and unusual weather events in California, including tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms. He is very doubtful that the 1997-1998 El Niño will result in the extraordinarily high rainfall that has been publicized. "The warm water off the West Coast is not El Niño," stated Monteverdi recently. Although regions of the Pacific are experiencing very high ocean temperatures, Monteverdi stresses that he has seen no respectable meteorological projections that link this to predictions of rainfall levels 3 to 4 times higher than normal. The record of the eight well-documented past El Niños leads him to conclude that we are likely to have wetter conditions than normal in San Francisco Bay Area this year—perhaps approaching two times normal. But two of the well-recorded El Niños in the past were accompanied by less rain than usual: "I  wouldn’t be surprised if it is drier than normal." Far northern California may experience drier-than-normal conditions, while Southern California may receive more than two times normal rainfall, he predicts.

Back to Newsletters

SFSU  :  College of Science & Engineering  :  Featured Sites  :  Home

Updated by Lannie Nguyen-Tang on August 3rd, 2000