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Last month, we mentioned that an El Niño event may be on its way this fall in the Pacific region and that could prove to be a problem for anglers headed to Christmas Island. In our report we went on to say that meteorologists are backing away from the original notion that the upcoming El Niño will be powerful enough to cause a reversal in the prevailing wind and an elevation in ocean water temperatures of several degrees, not to mention monsoon-type rains and back-to-back cloudy days.

The good news is that Kim Andersen, who owns a dive operation on Christmas Island (Dive Kiribati Ltd., [email protected]), pretty much corroborated what we said last month. Andersen has a background in environmental science, and he stays in touch with people who have their finger on the pulse of things such as El Niño events.

“The current situation as regards El Niño in the Pacific is that it looks like it will not be anywhere near as strong as earlier predicted,” he wrote. “Yes, there is indeed an ongoing El Niño event, as is indicated by the droughts in Australia and Fiji, but the full wind-direction changes and heavy rains usually associated with big El Niño events have just not materialized around Christmas Island. The outlook now is that there will be above-normal rainfall on Christmas Island, especially in the January to June 2015 time period. The reversal of the trade winds has yet to be seen, however, and this is what really drives the warm water to move from west to east, thus bringing the heavy rains and higher tides associated with large El Niño events such as the one that was seen here in 1997–98.”

Anderson went on to say that he asked Mark Merrifield, one of the scientists who studies this kind of thing at Sea Level Research Center at the University of Hawaii, for his view, and he got the following reply: “The El Niño never really caught fire. Forecasts now call for weak to moderate conditions with the main onset in the next few months. Probably not going to be much of a problem at Christmas. A bit more rain than usual, maybe, but there should be less wind.”

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