From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory website
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) posted a water temperature graphic of what La Niña’s Pacific Ocean origin looks like this year.
Click on the link below.
Alan Buis, NASA Sees Repeating La Niña Hitting its Peak, Jet Propulsion Laboratory – California Institute of Technology (18 January 2012)
Sea surface heights as an indicator of water temperatures
The NASA graphic compiled ten days of January 2012 satellite-derived Pacific sea surface heights.
Water temperature correlates with sea surface height. Warmer water is higher. Colder water lower.
How altimetric satellites work
An excellent explanation of sea surface height measuring, with diagrams, is at:
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, Jason 2: Using Satellite Altimetry to Monitor the Ocean, European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (2009) (scroll down to the section entitled, “The basics of satellite altimetry”)
This forecast is not good for the American southwest
“Conditions are ripe for a stormy, wet winter in the Pacific Northwest and a dry, relatively rainless winter in Southern California, the Southwest and the southern tier of the United States,” says climatologist Bill Patzert of JPL.
“After more than a decade of mostly dry years on the Colorado River watershed and in the American Southwest, and only two normal rain years in the past six years in Southern California, low water supplies are lurking.
This La Niña could deepen the drought in the already parched Southwest and could also worsen conditions that have fueled recent deadly wildfires.”
© 2012 Alan Buis, NASA Sees Repeating La Niña Hitting its Peak, Jet Propulsion Laboratory – California Institute of Technology (18 January 2012)
UCAR and EUMETSAT website are worth browsing
You can read more about the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research at UCAR.
And learn more about the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites at EUMETSAT.