Sorry bro, that Super El Niño you’re waiting on is just a symptom of you fucking up the planet/turning the ocean into a hot tub. Signed, every dying fish everywhere.

By Andrew J. Pridgen

Guess fucking what?

The oceans are getting warmer ALL THE FUCK OVER.

And guess who did that?

We did. (<–I blame myself actually. I blame myself for driving a SUV and enjoying all those all-you-can-eat sushi meals during Costco runs to Reno. I don’t know how that’s all related to the ocean getting perma-sweaty, but it is. Trust me. It’s all my fault. And I am sorry.)

And guess what that means?

2015-’16 will be the hottest year(s) on record.

And guess what doesn’t happen much in the West during the hottest year(s) on record?


Sorry bruh.

Here’s your reset: You know how a warmer Pacific in the summer maaaaaaaayybe used to be an indicator that there’d be snow or at least a lot of stress in Peruvian fishing villages? Well, it’s not so easy to say one leads to the other anymore. Think of the promise of El Niño as akin to dating in the ‘80s vs. dating now:

Dating then: A backlit hot chick in shoulder pads and perm takes a seductive sip of your Michelob during a sax solo and it was fucking on.

Dating now: You pretty much need an e-signature to go below the neck.

El Niño then: Water warms in the Pacific and all of a sudden dust off the Bogner onesie, wax up the Hart Parallel 2s and get ready for that endless glass of Asti Spumante during Après.

El Niño now: Your feed is filled with #skimarketergirl and her bigtruck hat/selfie smile/yoga poses saying warm-all-over ocean means invest in a snorkel. But more likely, it just signals the animals in the oceans will continue to die more rapidly and you need to pack Deep Woods OFF! in your #burnerbag.

Need proof? Scientists from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center have already ditched the Godzilla El Niño guy at the Maverik in South Jordan. They recently downgraded the El Niño part of this The Niño Hype Season to weaker than your cell signal on 395. Think of winter(s) 2014-’15 and 2015-’16 as the Back to the Futures II and III of El Niño.

One indicator that this El Niño might not have enough juice to justify throwing down for a Mountain Collective pass is the central Pacific trade winds became very weak in August. Trade winds in an actual El Niño year enable the eastern Pacific to warm up in the summer then cool in the fall which ostensibly can trigger a favorable weather window for precip come winter. Early returns show the winds haven’t changed (note: there was a westerly wind burst during early August that became the typhoon tropical storm Soudelor/Hanna). The second ingredient, the ocean cooling, is definitely not happening. And no, going to the Marriott’s Ocean Club in Kaanapali and dumping hotel ice in the water for a three days straight won’t help much—I tried that last year.

Speaking of last year, one of the factors that kept the 2014/’15 El Niño from getting into the bar was the absence of those same summer wind bursts. In 1997, the year most popular to reference right now, these wind events lined up like cosplay stalkers near Olivia Munn’s booth at ComicCon.

Trusted Tahoe weather provocateur Bryan Allegretto has spent the summer tracking the systems in the Pacific and has begun to temper the outrageous resort-placed predictions (see: above) that have every Truckee trustfunder pre-ordering an Ariens 921044 Deluxe blower (throws 55 feet!) from Mountain Hardware and Sports: “The conditions are decreasingly favorable for a big storm window just based on weather patterns. When we put together a forecast that takes into account both El Niño and the warm blob of water in the northeast Pacific, we found that the seasons that most closely resembled the current setup were ‘86-’87 and ‘91-’92, which were moderate El Niños with the warm blob. Those two seasons saw only 57% of average snowfall.”

In August, Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, added a dash of, “Oh shit. Yeah, that warm blob of water actually is the equivalent of the warm pee drift in the already warm kiddie pool.” Trenberth said the Pacific is showing fewer signs of cooling than Sriracha. He also noted the tradewind-induced temperature gradient required for an El Niño: Millennial Edition…is happening about as much as people are queuing for Zac Efron’s new DJ movie.

One possible reason for this? The Pacific Ocean—all of it—is currently being over-microwaved like an admin’s Lean Cuisine lunch and that is killing all the fishes—from jellies to salmon #fishlivesmatter. Because Global Warming. That’s what NOAA has been saying for a year. Or, if you don’t like clicking links: “When the ocean surface is warm all over, there’s no strong temperature gradient for the atmospheric component to build from,” penned WaPo’s Capital Weather Gang’s Angela Fritz.

The question shouldn’t be whether to drop a G and change on those DPS Powderworks Lotus 124s; the question is back to whether 2015-’16 will be the hottest year on record?

The answer, according to this “See, NASA still does shit” chart below is—yep.

So what can you do? Vote Bernie. Learn to play the piano. Donate your crampons. Hope Wall Street gets prosecuted next time around. Use your skins as baseboard. Finally learn how to convert an engine to biodiesel. Don’t ever bring up Paleo again. Watch Mean Girls with the sound down to see how many lines you can recite. Buy a glue gun and start making art from driftwood. Cry while you clutch your steering wheel. Buy a farm in Vermont. Consider eating “off-the-grid” for a year. Forget to renew your data plan. Grab a Speedo and some SPF 75 and dip your toe in that bubbling cauldron way over on your left. And, most of all, enjoy that AYCE sushi (especially if you like your spicy tuna roll boiled)…because it’s not gonna last forever.

Andrew J. Pridgen is the author of “Burgundy Upholstery Sky” and wishes for a time machine back to 1997 as well. Or maybe he just wants his old Volvo wagon back. 



  1. Our esteemed author makes an interestingly awesome point. That is: “Buy a farm in Vermont.”
    That way you can ski snow (that has been wayy better than Tahoe the last 2 years), wait in annoyingly long lines with New Yorkers talking about how they want to buy a condo or house at that new on-mountain development at Okemo (South Mountain, I think), and leave NH to those of us that actually want to ride.
    Good luck out there this year!

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