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The Student News Site of Tualatin High School

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Lucy Lyons
Lucy Lyons
Opinion Editor

Meteorologists warn more severe weather from El Niño amplified by climate change

Photo+by+Olivia+Beauchemin
Photo by Olivia Beauchemin

Many winter sports rely on cold temperatures to create their sports arenas, but every few years, ski and snowboard hills suffer from a predicted lack of snow. This is just one part of two larger weather patterns known as El Niño and La Niña, and 2024 is shaping up to be a typical El Niño year. 

Tim Youngberg, one of Tualatin’s science teachers, explained what is happening in 2024.

“We are seeing a huge increase in ocean temperature off the coast of Peru, and what that does is it changes the circulation systems of our polar jet stream and it shoots it down further south,” he said. “With that, you tend to steer storms more into California, so the southern US tends to be wetter and the northern US tends to be dryer and warmer.” 

In our area, we have been noticing warmer temperatures as well as less rainfall than average. This dry weather pattern has had a huge impact on the Tualatin ski team, affecting not only myself but also many others. 

Senior skier Grace Love shared her viewpoint on how this winter has affected her season.

 “Well, it honestly started off pretty tough with some potential training days being canceled due to there being no snow on the mountain,” she said. “You would get up there and just see dirt and grass on hills that would typically have been several feet of snow. Our first race was canceled because there was nothing to ski on.” 

While there should’ve been at least 83 inches of snow on Mt. Hood, a below average snowfall has occurred thus far this year, leading to races canceled, slushy, icy snow and harsh winds for the Tualatin Ski team.

 Although these conditions are not specifically rooted in climate change, this weather event can be amplified by global warming, either causing a more muted La Niña or more aggressive El Niño. This 2023-24 event has been deemed as one of the strongest with record breaking temperatures that will continue through the spring. While this sounds scary, this phenomenon has stretched back far into our history and is an expected event every three to four years. 

Despite this, with the rise in global warming, destructive flooding, damaging hurricanes, droughts and more have started to become standard for our winter cycles. Regardless of whether you do a winter sport, El Niño and La Niña are something that we should be prepared for. 



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Sam Dunn
Sam Dunn, Art & Billingual Editor
Hi, my name is Sam Dunn, i'm a sophomore and joined the newspaper because someday I wish to be a journalist. I'm hoping the newspaper teaches me more about it and helps me achieve that goal.

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