Climatologists are warning of a rare “double El Niño” event for this year. Several months ago it was just speculation. However, this month more climatologists have issued warnings.

A Double El Niño means two consecutive years of warmer than average waters along the equator regions of the Pacific Ocean. El Niño brings West Coast storms, but typically quieter hurricane seasons on the Atlantic side.

What does this mean for Costa Rica weather?

It generally means the oddest weather. This past winter (summer in Costa Rica) year was the warmest year on record for many areas on the west coast of the Americas. At the same time record cold and snow in many areas of the eastern side of the Americas.

Typically, warm waters from El Niño spread across the equator region of the Pacific Ocean, cooling as it evaporates. Increased atmospheric moisture generates tropical storms fronts. Last year’s El Niño was not as typical as the warm waters did not stay concentrated along the equator but spread northward along the coast all the way to Pacific Canada creating an increase in temperature and moisture conditions.

Moisture aloft in the atmosphere drives thunderstorms and tropical storms, but so far the atmospheric conditions have not been as active as generally expected in El Niño events, and because of this the warm water is sitting there, more in a ‘pause mode’. On March 5th, 2015, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, officially declared an El Niño event for 2015. However, NOAA forecaster Michelle L’Heureux said. “It is unfortunate we cannot declare a weak El Niño.”

El Niño events could mean a rise of two to three-tenths of a degree Celsius or up to half a degree Fahrenheit, and this change can occur “abruptly”. While three-tenths of a degree may seem insignificant, temperature swings in that range could have devastating effects.

This year’s El Niño isn’t as strong

but the Americas can expect drought in some places, floods in other places and further the rest of the world can expect to see more extremes in weather as well. In terms of Costa Rica weather, we should expect heavier the usual rains and thunderstorms in the coming months, according to climatologists.