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posted on 21 September 2015

21 September 2015 Weather and Climate Report - El Nino Max?

Written by Sig Silber

NOAA has issued a new Seasonal Update. It mostly extends the duration of the impact of this El Nino for about a month as compared to the prior Update issued on August 20. I am not sure exactly why they extended the duration of impacts (and the new NOAA maps are not fully in sync with the NOAA discussion) but clearly the strength of this El Nino, which for some time was known to be in the top five, now appears to most likely compete to be in the top three or even be recorded as having even greater strength than the 1997/98 El Nino. So the modifications to the Seasonal Outlook are logical. That does not mean they will prove to be correct. But it is clear that NOAA now has increased confidence in their analysis.

This is the Regular Edition of my weekly Weather and Climate Update Report. Additional information can be found here on Page II of the Global Economic Intersection Weather and Climate Report.

NOAA issued an updated Seasonal Outlook on September 17. The JAMSTEC (Japanese) analysis is also available now but other than the ONI forecast (which I show at the end of this report), I will wait until next week to compare the NOAA and JAMSTEC forecasts.

Lets start by looking at October and the three-month period October - November December..

Here are the prior three-month maps:

OND Combined Temperature and Precipitation

And here is the new version showing October on top and the three-month maps for OND of this year below the new October single-month maps

Three Month Montage Issued Sept 17, 2015

Comparing the two graphics, I come to the following conclusions:

A. Compared to the prior Outlook for that three-month period OND which was issued on August 20, 2015, the colder than climatology area in the Southwest has shifted to the west a bit and the warmer than climatology area across the northern tier and both coasts has expanded a bit. With respect to precipitation, the wetter than climatology area is more intense. 

B. When looking at the new Outlook for the three-month period OND compared to just October (which allows us to draw some conclusions about November and December), the Lower Mississippi Valley is less warm and the Northwest gets drier in November and December and the wetter than climatology area expands. Both those changes with respect to November and December as compared to October are essentially the same as was presented in the Outlook Issued on August 20, 2015 for those months and are what one expects with a powerful El Nino.

Now let us look at the full set of three-month maps issued which extends to October-November-December 2016 i.e. the end of next year. 

Here are the Prior Temperature Maps

15 months of temperature issued August 20, 2015

And the New Temperature Maps:

15 Month Temperature Issued Sept 17, 2015

What I see is a change in Mar - Apr - May with a larger cooler than climatology area in the Southwest extending to the Southeast which is what you would expect with a powerful El Nino. I also see in the maps extending further out in time that the Mid-Atlantic is no longer shown as being warmer than climatology. This change does not appear to be totally related to the El Nino because it continues through the entire sequence of three-month maps.

Here are the Prior Precipitation Maps

15 Month Precipitation Issued August 20, 2015

And the Newly Issued Precipitation Maps:

15 month precipitation issued on Sept 17, 2015

What I see again is a change in Mar - Apr - May with a larger area of wetter than climatology in the Southwest and Florida and also a change two months earlier in Jan - Feb - Mar with a larger and more intense drier than climatology area along the Northern Tier.

Excerpts from the NOAA Discussion Released with these maps. I have not changed any of the discussion but rearranged it a bit.

PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION FOR MONTHLY OUTLOOK
NWS CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER COLLEGE PARK MD
830AM EDT THURSDAY SEP 17 2015
 
CURRENT ATMOSPHERIC AND OCEANIC CONDITIONS
 
SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES (SSTS) ARE CURRENTLY MORE THAN TWO DEGREES C ABOVE-AVERAGE ALONG THE EQUATOR IN THE PACIFIC OCEAN FROM NEAR 170W LONGITUDE;EASTWARD TO THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, APPROXIMATELY 500 MILES OFF THE COAST OF ECUADOR. SOME DEPARTURES ARE GREATER THAN +3.0 DEGREES C IN THE EASTERN PACIFIC. ABOVE-AVERAGE SSTS EXTEND NORTHWARD FROM THE EQUATOR TO COVER A BROAD AREA OF THE NORTH PACIFIC TO THE WEST OF NORTH AMERICA. A SIZEABLE RESERVOIR OF SUBSURFACE WARMTH STRETCHES FROM 150W TO 100W LONGITUDE, DOWN TO 150 METERS AND EXCEEDING 6.0 DEGREES C ABOVE AVERAGE IN SOME LOCATIONS. THIS SUBSURFACE VOLUME OF ANOMALOUSLY WARM WATER PROVIDES A RESERVOIR OF HEAT TO HELP SUSTAIN CURRENT POSITIVE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES. WEST OF THE DATE LINE, NEAR-EQUATORIAL PACIFIC, SUBSURFACE OCEAN TEMPERATURES ARE BELOW AVERAGE.
 
ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS ACROSS THE TROPICAL PACIFIC ARE CONSISTENT WITH AN ONGOING EL NINO EVENT. UPPER-LEVEL, 200-HPA EASTERLY WIND ANOMALIES ARE PRESENT OVER THE CENTRAL EQUATORIAL PACIFIC. LOW-LEVEL, 850-HPA WESTERLY WIND ANOMALIES WERE OBSERVED FROM THE WESTERN TO THE EAST-CENTRAL TROPICAL PACIFIC. NEGATIVE OUTGOING LONGWAVE RADIATION (OLR) ANOMALIES INDICATING ENHANCED CONVECTION EXTEND FROM THE CENTRAL TROPICAL PACIFIC ACROSS THE EASTERN TROPICAL PACIFIC TOWARDS CENTRAL AMERICA. POSITIVE OLR ANOMALIES WERE OBSERVED OVER THE WESTERN TROPICAL PACIFIC NEAR INDONESIA INDICATING SUPPRESSED CONVECTION.
 
THE EXTRA-TROPICAL PACIFIC OCEAN REMAINS CONSISTENT WITH THE POSITIVE PHASE OF THE PACIFIC DECADAL OSCILLATION (PDO), WITH THE MONTHLY INDEX AT +1.56 IN AUGUST, AS CALCULATED BY THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON. THIS MAY HAVE SOME IMPACT ON CONDITIONS NEAR THE WEST COAST OF NORTH AMERICA, ESPECIALLY THROUGH EARLY AUTUMN.
 
PROGNOSTIC DISCUSSION OF SST FORECASTS

ALL MODELS USED FOR THE CURRENT OUTLOOK PREDICT EL NINO CONDITIONS TO CONTINUE INTO THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE SPRING OF 2016 WITH A PEAK NINO 3.4 SST ANOMALY OF AT LEAST +1.5 DEGREES C IN LATE AUTUMN OR EARLY WINTER, INDICATING A STRONG EL NINO EVENT. THE CPC SST CONSOLIDATION FORECASTS A MAXIMUM IN NINO 3.4 SST ANOMALIES OF ABOUT +2.5 DEGREES C DURING OND 2015. THE CPC CONSOLIDATED SST FORECAST REMAINS ABOVE +1.0 C THROUGH FMA 2016. ALL ENSEMBLE MEMBERS OF THE NMME PLUME FORECAST A PEAK NINO 3.4 SST ANOMALY OF GREATER THAN +2.0 DEGREES C
INDICATING A VERY STRONG EVENT, SOMETIMES REFERRED TO AS A SUPER EL NINO EVENT, IS POSSIBLE. THE CPC/IRI CONSENSUS FORECAST INDICATES APPROXIMATELY A 95 PERCENT CHANCE FOR EL NINO TO CONTINUE THROUGH BOREAL WINTER WITH PEAK 3-MONTH MEAN SST DEPARTURES IN THE NINO 3.4 REGION NEAR OR EXCEEDING +2.0 DEGREES C.

30-DAY OUTLOOK DISCUSSION FOR OCTOBER 2015
 
STATISTICAL AND DYNAMICAL SST FORECASTS INDICATE EL NINO CONDITIONS WILL MOST LIKELY PERSIST THROUGH BOREAL WINTER AND INTO THE EARLY SPRING. EL NINO IS EXPECTED TO HAVE SOME INFLUENCE ON CLIMATE ANOMALIES ACROSS NORTH AMERICA IN OCTOBER.
 
A REVIEW OF RECENT SOIL MOISTURE ANOMALIES INDICATES ANOMALOUSLY WET CONDITIONS CONTINUE FOR AN AREA FROM THE SOUTHWEST CONUS NORTHWARD AND EASTWARD TO THE OHIO VALLEY. DRIER THAN NORMAL SOIL MOISTURE IS INDICATED FOR MANY AREAS IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, THE CENTRAL GULF COAST STATES, THE CAROLINAS, AND THE NORTHEAST. THESE SIGNALS WERE ALSO CONSIDERED IN THE OCTOBER OUTLOOK.
 
IN ADDITION TO THE EL NINO BACKGROUND STATE AND SOIL MOISTURE ANOMALIES, DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE FROM THE CFS, NMME, AND IMME PLAYED A SUBSTANTIAL ROLE IN THE OCTOBER OUTLOOK. THESE CLIMATE MODEL FORECASTS HAVE REMAINED QUITE CONSISTENT OVER THE LAST FEW MONTHS AND AGREE REASONABLY WELL, IN GENERAL, WITH THE TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION ANOMALIES ASSOCIATED WITH PAST EL NINO EVENTS. THE MJO REMAINS WEAK AT THIS TIME AND PLAYED NO ROLE IN THE OCTOBER OUTLOOK.
 
THE OCTOBER TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK DEPICTS ENHANCED ODDS FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MOST AREAS WEST OF THE ROCKIES, THE NORTHERN PLAINS, AND FROM MOST OF THE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY EASTWARD TO THE ATLANTIC COAST, AS WELL AS FOR ALASKA. THIS HIGHLIGHTED REGION IS BASED ON SEVERAL FACTORS, WHEN APPROPRIATE, WHICH INCLUDES DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE, ABOVE-AVERAGE SSTS IN THE NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN, EL NINO COMPOSITES AND ANOMALOUSLY DRY SOIL MOISTURE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, CENTRAL GULF COAST, CAROLINAS AND NORTHEAST. THE HIGH PROBABILITIES ACROSS THE NORTH SLOPE OF ALASKA ARE DUE TO A VERY ROBUST TREND IN THE PAST 15 YEARS OF EITHER THE DELAYED FORMATION OF, OR ANOMALOUSLY LOW COVERAGE OF, SEA ICE IN THE NEARBY ARCTIC OCEAN. ODDS FOR BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE ELEVATED IN SOUTHWESTERN TEXAS AND SOUTHERN NEW MEXICO. THIS SIGNAL IS MODEST AT BEST, AND IS INDICATED BY A FEW OF THE DYNAMICAL MODELS.

STRONG AND CONSISTENT SIGNALS FROM DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE AND ENSO COMPOSITES SUPPORT AN AREA OF FAVORED ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FROM FAR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EAST-NORTHEASTWARD ACROSS THE FOUR CORNERS STATES, PORTIONS OF THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN GREAT PLAINS, AND LOUISIANA. ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS ALSO HIGHLIGHTED FOR MUCH OF THE SOUTHERN COAST OF ALASKA, CONSISTENT WITH EL NINO CONDITIONS. BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS INDICATED FOR THE GREAT LAKES REGION, NORTHEAST, AND MUCH OF THE MID-ATLANTIC REGION, DUE TO DYNAMICAL MODEL  GUIDANCE AND CORRELATIONS WITH EL NINO CONDITIONS THIS TIME OF THE YEAR.

Three Month Outlook: October-November-December

THE OCTOBER-NOVEMBER-DECEMBER (OND) 2015 TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK INDICATES ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES WEST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, ACROSS THE NORTHERN CONTIGUOUS U.S. TO THE NORTHEAST, AND SOUTHWARD ALONG THE EAST COAST. WITHIN THE CONTIGUOUS U.S., THE CHANCES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE GREATEST ALONG THE PACIFIC COAST IN THE NORTHWEST, IN THE NORTHEAST, AND FOR THE SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA, WITH PROBABILITIES EXCEEDING 50 PERCENT. ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE ALSO MOST LIKELY FOR ALASKA, WITH PROBABILITIES EXCEEDING 70 PERCENT FOR THE NORTH SLOPE. BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE MOST LIKELY IN NEW MEXICO AND PARTS OF WEST TEXAS.
 
THE OND 2015 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK INDICATES ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, THE SOUTHWEST, THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS, THE LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY, AND THE SOUTHEAST. ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE ALSO MOST LIKELY FOR THE SOUTHERN AND NORTHERN COASTS OF ALASKA. BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE MOST LIKELY FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, AND FROM THE EASTERN GREAT LAKES INTO NEW YORK STATE AND NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND.
 
15 Month Outlook: OND 2015 Through SON 2016

TEMPERATURE
 
THE SEASONAL TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK FOR OND 2015 INDICATES INCREASED CHANCES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES WEST OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS, ACROSS THE NORTHERN CONTIGUOUS U.S. INTO THE NORTHEAST, AND SOUTHWARD ALONG THE ATLANTIC COAST. PROBABILITIES OF BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE GREATER FOR A REGION COVERING NEW MEXICO AND WESTERN TEXAS. ENHANCED CHANCES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES CONTINUE THROUGH WINTER INTO EARLY SPRING FOR MUCH OF THE WEST, AS WELL AS ACROSS THE NORTHERN U.S. INTO THE NORTHEAST, WHILE THE AREA OF MOST LIKELY BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES EXPANDS IN WINTER TO INCLUDE MUCH OF THE SOUTHWEST, THE SOUTHERN PLAINS, GULF COAST STATES, AND THE SOUTHEAST. DYNAMICAL MODELS FROM THE NMME SUPPORT A GREATER AREA OF ENHANCED PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR THE WEST AND THE SOUTHEAST IN THE AUTUMN MONTHS, WHILE STATISTICAL TOOLS BASED ON ENSO SUPPORT ENHANCED CHANCES OF BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR A LARGER AREA OF THE CONTIGUOUS U.S. IN AUTUMN INCLUDING THE SOUTHWEST AND SOUTHEAST. DYNAMICAL MODELS AND ENSO BASED STATISTICAL MODELS ARE IN GREATER AGREEMENT ON THE PREDICTED TEMPERATURE PATTERN LATER INTO WINTER,CLOSELY RESEMBLING HISTORICAL IMPACTS OF EL NINO EVENTS. THE IMPACTS DUE TO A POTENTIAL STRONG EL NINO EVENT PLAY A ROLE IN THE OUTLOOKS FROM OND 2015 THROUGH FMA 2016. [Editor's Note: looking at the just released maps it seems the transition by NOAA to the decadal trends was MAM not FMA] DECADAL TEMPERATURE TRENDS AS INTERPRETED BY THE CPC CONSOLIDATION ARE THE PRIMARY TOOL USED IN OUTLOOKS FROM MAM 2016 THROUGH OND 2016, INDICATING ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR THE WEST AND THE NORTHEAST FROM MAM 2016 THROUGH OND 2016, AND ALONG THE GULF COAST FROM JJA 2016 THROUGH ASO 2016. A VERY HIGH PROBABILITY OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES IS INDICATED FOR THE NORTH SLOPE OF ALASKA DURING THE AUTUMN SEASON DUE TO ANOMALOUSLY OPEN SEA ICE DURING THAT TIME OF YEAR.
  
PRECIPITATION

THE OND 2015 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK INDICATES INCREASED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS FOR A LARGE AREA OF THE SOUTHERN CONTIGUOUS U.S. FROM SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ACROSS THE SOUTHWEST TO THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS, AS WELL AS THE SOUTHEAST. BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION AMOUNTS ARE MOST LIKELY FOR THE NORTHWEST AND FROM THE EASTERN GREAT LAKES INTO NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND. ENHANCED CHANCES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE ALSO INDICATED FOR THE SOUTH AND NORTH COASTS OF ALASKA. THIS PRECIPITATION PATTERN CONTINUES WITH SOME MODIFICATIONS FOR THE SEASONAL OUTLOOKS THROUGH WINTER, LARGELY DERIVED FROM DYNAMICAL MODEL FORECASTS OF THE NMME AND STATISTICAL TOOLS FOR EL NINO PRECIPITATION IMPACTS. FROM DJF 2015/2016 INTO JFM 2016, THE CHANCES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN SEASONAL PRECIPITATION TOTALS INCREASES FOR CALIFORNIA AND THE GREAT BASIN WITH PROBABILITIES EXCEEDING 60 PERCENT IN PARTS OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. THE PROBABILITIES OF BELOW-MEDIAN SEASONAL PRECIPITATION INCREASE FOR THE CENTRAL AND UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY DURING WINTER. THE PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS THROUGH WINTER ARE CONSISTENT WITH A PREDICTED STRONG EL NINO EVENT, INCLUDING ENHANCED CHANCES OF BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR NEW ENGLAND IN AUTUMN AND INCREASING PROBABILITIES OF BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION AND CENTRAL MISSISSIPPI VALLEY IN WINTER AND EARLY SPRING. THE
CHANCES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION INCREASE FOR THE SOUTHEAST FROM AUTUMN INTO WINTER, WITH PROBABILITIES EXCEEDING 70 PERCENT FOR THE FLORIDA PENINSULA. ENHANCED CHANCES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE NORTHERN COAST OF ALASKA ARE RELATED TO THE ANOMALOUSLY OPEN SEA ICE CONDITIONS. AS BOTH THE PREDICTED STRENGTH AND THE EXPECTED IMPACTS OF AN EL NINO EVENT DECREASE IN SPRING OF 2016 AND THEREAFTER, PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS FROM AMJ 2016 ONWARD INDICATE EQUAL CHANCES OF ABOVE-, NEAR-, AND BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR ALL U.S. REGIONS.

Now I want to shift focus and take a look at the Current (Right Now to 5 Days Out) Weather Situation:  

A more complete version of this report with daily forecasts is available in Part II. This is a summary of that fuller report. This link Worldwide Weather: Current and Three-Month Outlooks: 15 Month Outlooks will take you directly to that set of information but in some Internet Browsers it may just take you to the top of Page II where there is a TABLE OF CONTENTS and you may have to wait for a few seconds for your Browser to redirect to the selected section with that Page or if that process is very slow you can simply click a second time within the TABLE OF CONTENTS to get to that specific part of the webpage.

First, here is a national animation of weather front and precipitation forecasts with four 6-hour projections of the conditions that will apply covering the next 24 hours and a second day of two 12-hour projections the second of which is the forecast for 48 hours out and to the extent it applies for 12 hours, this animation is intended to provide coverage out to 60 hours. Beyond 60 hours, additional maps are available at the link provided above.

current highs and lows

The explanation for the coding used in these maps, i.e. the full legend, can be found here although it includes some symbols that are no longer shown in the graphic because they are implemented by color coding.

The map below is the mid-atmosphere 7-Day chart rather than the surface highs and lows and weather features.  In some cases it provides a clearer less confusing picture as it shows only the major pressure gradients. You can see the location of the Four Corners area where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico meet. At this time of the year there is typically a high pressure system near that area and it is called the Four Corners High. When the Four Corners High is centered directly over the Four Corners area, it creates pretty much a block for the Sonoran Monsoon which only visits its northern neighbor when the highs and lows are located in a way that draws the moist air north.

Small changes in the location of that feature make a big difference in the weather of probably about ten or more states.

This High moves around a lot so by the time you view this report, it most likely it will be located somewhere else which results in a different circulation pattern. The current position as I am finalizing my report was shown way to the south which to some extent is consistent with the seasonal path of that feature as the Monsoon gets long in the tooth but now all of a sudden I see some additional Highs showing up in this graphic. Remember this is the mid-atmosphere High: the short-term location of the Surface High is shown in the above animation and it is in a more normal location but may not be very effective at influencing circulation that extends into Mexico. If you know where the High is, you can always imagine the clockwise circulation and how that might impact the movement of moisture in from the Gulf of Mexico and up from Mexico and in from the Gulf of California. So this graphic can be very very useful. And it auto-updates, I think every six hours. Even without a weather map, you generally can figure it out. Wind to your back, High to your right, Low to your left. You can clearly see the Trough off the West Coast. That appears to be the dominant feature projected to be determining CONUS weather on Day 7. 

7 Day 500 MB Geopotential Forecast

Because "Thickness Lines" are shown by those green lines on this graphic it is a good place to define "Thickness" and its uses. You can find a full uk.sci.weather style explanation (thorough) at that link or just remember that Thickness measures the virtual temperature (temperature plus moisture content) of the lower atmosphere and is very useful especially in the winter at identifying areas prone to snow and in the summer areas which are going to be hot and humid. Here is a U.S. style explanation of "Thickness" by Jeff Haby who is a valuable source of Haby Hints for anyone who wants an explanation of a meteorological term.

The level of storm activity in the Western Pacific has tapered off quite a bit. 

Western Pacific Tropical Activity

At this time of the year, warm water off of the coast of Mexico, such as from an El Nino or a positive PDO reduces the ocean/land temperature differential and can weaken the Monsoon overall but the cyclones generated by that warm ocean water can enhance the Monsoon for short periods if those cyclones stay close enough to the Mexican coastline. So that is what is being watched now and there seems to be an endless sequence of the storms forming.

But each of these El Nino related tropical storms off the coast of Mexico has the potential, if they are close enough to shore, to introduce moisture into the circulation that enters CONUS and that has been the case this summer but it is sporadic. It also mostly benefits the western side of Mexico and the western reach in CONUS of the Southwest Monsoon but there has been a tendency for some of that moisture to also benefit New Mexico. But overall it has diminished the impact of the Southwest Monsoon as it has cut off any Gulf of Mexico involvement and generally has impacted a smaller number of states than is usually the case. For Mexico, an El Nino is a drought event. 

But as shown below there is another storm (Sixteen-east) moving up the Mexican Coast which is already having an impact on CONUS weather but that should only last for a few days but will be significant and complicated as there is another Low-Pressure area that dropped down from the north (the west-coast trough previously mentioned) which might have combined with this tropical depression but now looks to follow it in from the Pacific or perhaps not. The prior storm, Linda, had only a brief impact but it was deadly. I provide some articles on that in the El Nino news section of this report. 

.Eastern Pacific Tropical Storms

The graphic below is harder to look at but provides more detail on the water vapor being generated by these storms and the normal summer action of the Southwest Monsoon. It covers a much larger area within CONUS so you can see where the moisture currently is and is going. This graphic is very good at pointing out the divisions between cloudy and not cloudy areas.

As I am looking at this graphic Monday evening, I see a storm (Sixteen-east) that had been over Baja California but now is entering the Southwest and right now there is a lot of dry area north and east of that storm but that most likely will change depending on where the remnants of Sixteen E go after their run-in with the Rocky Mountains. The storm has already encountered mountains in Mexico so it is dropping its moisture rapidly and will decline in importance rapidly. There is additional activity west of the tropical storm and that most likely is going to follow the tropical storm inland and will extend the period of unsettled conditions.  But apparently the tropical wave (formerly a storm with counter clockwise circulation) is moving fast and will not persist in any one place for very long but will share its moisture with other weather patterns.    

 Water Vapor Imagery

Here is a broader view of projected tropical hazards and benefits over an approximately two-week period. There are two views. One is more focused on the Pacific and one that includes the Indian Ocean and covers Asia more completely. Both graphics auto-update weekly but I think each update on a different day of the week so when you look at them both carefully you might see some difference due to the exact day when they were updated. More information can be found here. The discussion at that link there may update on Tuesdays. I am not sure.

Looking at the first graphic what stands out to me, at the time of publication, is the dry conditions in Central America and the two areas where conditions for the development to cyclones is moderately high both off the coast of Mexico but also off the coast of Florida and Georgia. 

Tropical Hazards

This graphic covers a larger part of the world. With this graphic, at the time of publication, you see more activity over by Asia including dry conditions in Indonesia and the Philippines and wet conditions in India in what they call Week 1 of their forecast.

Tropical Hazards

Below is a view which highlights the surface Highs and the Lows re air pressure on Day 6 (Day 3 can be seen in Part II of this Report). We now see something very different than what we have been seeing for a long time and that is a low-pressure system centered on the Alaskan Panhandle which last week appeared to be moving east but which now appears to be a semi-permanent feature finally replacing the RRR. Last week I said:

One interesting question is the action of the weakened Subtropical High.  Will it able able to force the new storm moving north along the coast of Mexico out to sea as is normal or will that storm get "trapped" and provide moisture into CONUS. That will make a big difference in our weather over the next week or so. 

At that time, I was thinking about the successor to Linda but as it turned out, the pattern of Highs and Lows was able to shear off a piece of Linda which then had tragic consequences for Los Angeles and probably the flooding along the Arizona/Utah border as well. Then the question became the track of the successor storm and now we know the answer to that question as Sixteen-E has moved inland and has entered the CONUS weather system.

Day 6 Weather Forecast

We now need to monitor the Jet Stream to see if it is shifting to the South. This is the forecast out five days. The activity still appears to be mostly north rather than south but we are starting perhaps to see that changing a bit. 

Jet Stream Five Days Out

To see how the pattern is projected to evolve, please click here. Is this the beginning of the shifting to the south of the Jet Stream which one would expect with and El Nino? I think it is too soon to draw that conclusion but time will tell. Perhaps the second half of October.

And when we look at Sea Surface anomalies we see a lot of them not just along the Equator related to El Nino. But the extent of the warm water off the West Coast appears to be a bit less than recently. Also you can see along the Equator that the El Nino is less intense along part of the South American Coast. But the Atlantic has really heated up. But look at the colder water off of the U.K. You can tell a lot from this graphic.  

Daily SST Anomaly

This graphic below shows the changes over the past four weeks as compared to the above graphic which shows the current SST anomalies. Looking at both is helpful in putting the current situation shown above into perspective.

Sept 21, 2015 four week change in SST Anomalies

Here you can see the increasing change in the Nino Area which was not as evident last week indicating a big change since last week in that this is a four-week average. You can also see that the cool water west of the U.K. has gotten colder. The situation off of Japan and east into the Pacific to me is very interesting re impacts on precipitation. It has cooled considerably and the PDO nature of the distribution is less than it has been recently. We again see the warming south of Australia which to some extent has canceled out the IOD. We also see the warming in the Atlantic Hurricane Development Area.

6 - 14 Day Outlooks

Now let us focus on the 6 - 14 Day Forecast for which I generally only show the 8 - 14 Day Maps. The 6 - 10 Day maps are available in Part II of this report.

To put the forecasts which NOAA tends to call Outlooks into perspective, I am going to show the three-month OND and single month of October forecasts and then discuss the 8 - 14 day Maps and the 6 - 14 Day NOAA Discussion within that framework. 

First Temperature

Here is the Three-Month Temperature Outlook issued on September 17, 2015:

OND Temperature Outlook Issued on Sept 17, 2015

And here is the October only "Early" Temperature Outlook issued on September 17, 2015.

October Early Temperature Outlook Issued Sept 17, 2015

Below is the current 8 - 14 Day Temperature Outlook which will auto-update and thus be current when you view it. It covers the week following the current week. Today's 6 - 14 Day Outlook is just nine days of the month and the map shown below of the 8 to 14 day Outlook only shows seven days. The 6 - 10 Day Map is available on Page II of this report. As I view this map on September 21 (it updates each day) it appears that October will start out warmer than the full month outlook.

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

Now Precipitation 

Here is the three-month Precipitation Outlook which was issued on September 17, 2015:

OND Precipitation Outlook Issued Sept 17, 2015

And here is the October "Early" Precipitation Outlook Update Issued on September 17, 2015.

October Early Precipitation Outlook Issued Sept 17, 2015

Below is the current 8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook which will auto-update and thus be current when you view it. It covers the week following the current week. Today's 6 - 14 Day Outlook is just nine days of the month and the map shown below of the 8 to 14 day Outlook only shows seven days. The 6 - 10 Day Map is available on Page II of this report. As I view this map on September 21 (it updates each day) it appears that October will start out drier than the full month outlook for the eastern half of CONUS but wetter for the Northern Tier west of the Great Lakes. This map to me is not showing significant El Nino impacts.

Current 8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook

Here are excerpts from the NOAA discussion released today September 21, 2015.

6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR SEP 27 - OCT 01, 2015

TODAY'S ENSEMBLE MEANS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT ON PREDICTING ANOMALOUS RIDGING IN THE GULF OF ALASKA AND OVER MOST OF THE STATE, AN UNSEASONABLY DEEP TROUGH NEAR THE WEST COAST OF THE U.S., AND ANOMALOUS RIDGING OVER MUCH OF THE EASTERN TWO THIRDS OF THE CONUS. MODELS HAVE ALSO SHOWN GOOD RUN-TO-RUN CONSISTENCY OVER THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS, SO CONFIDENCE IS RELATIVELY HIGH. TODAY'S MANUAL 500-HPA BLEND FAVORS THE 0Z ECMWF ENSEMBLE DUE TO ITS RELATIVELY HIGH SKILL DURING THE PAST 60 DAYS.

ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE STRONGLY FAVORED OVER MOST OF THE CONUS DUE TO ANOMALOUS SOUTHERLY FLOW AND RIDGING IN THE EASTERN HALF OF THE CONUS, EXCEPT OVER THE WESTERN CONUS WHERE AN ANOMALOUS TROUGH IS ANTICIPATED, INCREASING THE CHANCES FOR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES THERE. ANOMALOUS TROUGHING OVER MOST OF ALASKA FAVORS BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MOST OF THE STATE.

ONSHORE FLOW AND A STORM SYSTEM PREDICTED TO AFFECT ALASKA DURING THE PERIOD LEAD TO ENHANCED CHANCES FOR ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE STATE. PROLONGED ANOMALOUS TROUGHING PREDICTED IN THE WESTERN U.S. FAVORS ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST AND INTO THE NORTHERN PLAINS. LARGE POSITIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES IN THE EASTERN U.S. FAVOR BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FROM TEXAS INTO THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY, GREAT LAKES, AND NORTHEAST. SOME TROPICAL ACTIVITY IS ANTICIPATED IN THE GULF OF MEXICO DURING THE PERIOD, THOUGH THERE IS STILL A GOOD DEAL OF UNCERTAINTY. THIS FAVORS ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ALONG THE GULF COAST AND FOR FLORIDA AND THE CAROLINAS. 

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD: ABOVE AVERAGE, 4 OUT OF 5, DUE TO GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG THE MODEL SOLUTIONS AND SURFACE TOOLS.

8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR SEP 29 - OCT 05, 2015 

THE WEEK-2 500-HPA PATTERN ANTICIPATED ACROSS NORTH AMERICA IS VERY SIMILAR TO THAT IN THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD. THE TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION PROBABILITY FORECASTS DURING THE WEEK-2 PERIOD ARE ALSO VERY SIMILAR TO THAT IN THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD, EXCEPT THAT AS UNCERTAINTY NATURALLY INCREASES FROM THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD TO THE WEEK-2 PERIOD, PROBABILITIES DECREASE. NEAR MEDIAN PRECIPITATION WILL ALSO BECOME MORE FAVORED OVER THE MIDDLE AND UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY BY THE WEEK-2 PERIOD.

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD IS: ABOUT AVERAGE, 3 OUT OF 5, DUE TO FAIR AGREEMENT AMONG THE MODEL SOLUTIONS AND SURFACE TOOLS. 

Analogs to Current Conditions

Now let us take a detailed look at the "Analogs" which NOAA provides related to the 5 day period centered on 3 days ago and the 7 day period centered on 4 days ago. "Analog" means that the weather pattern then resembles the recent weather pattern and was used in some way to predict the 6 - 14 day Outlook.

Here are today's analogs in chronological order although this information is also available with the analog dates listed by the level of correlation. I find the chronological order easier for me to work with. There is a second set of analogs associated with the outlook but I have not been analyzing this second set of information. This first set applies to the 5 and 7 day observed pattern prior to today. The second set which I am not using relates to the forecast outlook 6 - 10 days out to similar patterns that have occurred in the past during the dates covered by the 6 - 10 Day Outlook. That may also be useful information but they put this set of analogs in the discussion with the other set available by a link so I am assuming that this set of analogs is the most meaningful.

Analog

Centered

Day

ENSO

Phase

PDO AMO

Other Comments

1953 Sept 26 El Nino - +  
1956 Oct 1 Neutral - -  
1958 Sept 4 El Nino Neutral +  
1958 Sept 18 El Nino Neutral +  
1959 Sept 2 Neutral - + Following an El Nino Modoki
1959 Sept 7 Neutral - + Following an El Nino Modoki
1962 Sept 11 Neutral - -  

 

One of the first things I noticed was these analogs are all within a ten-year period and that ten-year period is more than fifty years ago. I do not know if this is significant but it jumps right out at you. In the decade of the fifties there were four El Ninos and two La Ninas. But the phases of the ocean cycles were consistent with McCabe Condition D which has been the dominant mode since probably 1998 and is highly correlated with Southwest drought The seminal work on the impact of the PDO and AMO on U.S. climate can be found here. My take away from this is that the PDO has not changed phase and the current PDO plus is related to the current El Nino and the prior near El Nino. It most likely will return to PDO - or PDO neutral next winter.

 McCabe Maps modified to include the subtitles

You may have to squint but the drought probabilities are shown on the map and also indicated by the color coding with shades of red indicating higher than 25% of the years are drought years (25% or less of average precipitation for that area) and shades of blue indicating less than 25% of the years are drought years. Thus drought is defined as the condition that occurs 25% of the time and this ties in nicely with each of the four pairs of two phases of the AMO and PDO.

Historical Anomaly Analysis

When I see the same dates showing up often I find it interesting to consult this list.

With respect to relating analog dates to ENSO Events, the following table might be useful. In most cases this table will allow the reader to draw appropriate conclusions from NOAA supplied analogs. If the analogs are not associated with an El Nino or La Nina they probably are not significant. Remember, an analog is indicating a similarity to a weather pattern in the past. So if the analogs are not associated with a prior El Nino or prior La Nina the computer models are not likely to generate a forecast that is consistent with an El Nino or a La Nina.

  El Ninos La Ninas
  Start Finish Max ONI PDO AMO Start Finish Max ONI PDO AMO
            DJF 1950 J FM 1951 -1.4 - N
T   JJA 1951  DJF 1952 0.9 - +          
   DJF 1953  DJF 1954 0.8 - + AMJ 1954  AMJ 1956 -1.6 - +
M MAM 1957   JJA 1958 1.7 + +          
M SON 1958  JFM 1959 0.6 + -          
M   JJA 1963  JFM 1964 1.2 - - AMJ 1964  DJF 1965 -0.8 - -
M  MJJ 1965 MAM 1966 1.8 - - NDJ 1967 MAM 1968 -0.8 - -
M OND 1968   MJJ 1969 1.0 - -          
T  JAS 1969   DJF 1970 0.8 N -  JJA 1970  DJF 1972 -1.3 - -
T AMJ 1972  FMA 1973 2.0 - - MJJ 1973 JJA 1974 -1.9 - -
            SON 1974 FMA 1976 -1.6 - -
T ASO 1976  JFM 1977 0.8 + -          
M ASO 1977  DJF 1978 0.8 N -          
M SON 1979  JFM 1980 0.6 + -          
T MAM 1982  MJJ 1983 2.1 + - SON 1984 MJJ 1985 -1.1 + -
M ASO 1986  JFM 1988 1.6 + - AMJ 1988 AMJ 1989 -1.8 - -
M MJJ 1991    JJA 1992 1.6 + -          
M SON 1994   FMA 1995 1.0 - - JAS 1995 FMA 1996 -1.0 + +
T AMJ 1997   AMJ 1998 2.3 + + JJA 1998 FMA 2001 -1.6 - +
M MJJ 2002   JFM 2003 1.3 + N          
M  JJA 2004 MAM 2005 0.7 + +          
M ASO 2006   DJF 2007 1.0 - - JAS 2007  MJJ 2008 -1.4 - +
M JJA 2009 MAM 2010 1.3 - + JJA 2010 MAM 2011 -1.4 + +
            JAS 2011 FMA 2012 -0.9 - +
T MAM 2015 NA 1.0 + N          

 

Progress of the Warm Event

Let us start with the SOI.

Below is the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) reported by Queensland, Australia. The first column is the tentative daily reading, the second is the 30 day moving/running average and the third is the 90 day moving/rolling average.

Date Current Reading 30-Day Average 90 Day Average
15 Sept -24.4 -16.12 -18.4
16 Sept  -12.9 -15.99 -18.56
17 Sept   -4.9 -15.89 -18.43
18 Sept    -4.6 -15.51 -18.1
19 Sept -10.1 -14.8 -17.9
20 Sept -13.0 -14.51 -17.72
21 Sept -15.0 -14.65 -17.57

 

The 30-day average, which is the most widely used measure, on September 21 was reported as being -14.64 which is clearly a reading associated with an El Nino but slightly lower than last week. The 90-day average also is solidly in El Nino territory at -17.57 which is marginally less negative than last week. The SOI is clearly indicative of an El Nino Event in progress. In fact it is so strong that it may be having impacts that are unusual. 

Here are the low-level wind anomalies. It has been fairly calm although there is some new activity around 160E but it is not extreme.

Low Level Wlind Anomalies

In this graphic, you can see how the convection pattern (really cloud tops has since May shifted to the East from a Date Line (180) Modoki pattern to a 170W to 120W Traditional/Canonical El Nino Pattern. But recently the signs of an El Nino are getting quite faint and shifting back to the west. You can see the lack of convection over at 120W which is Indonesia but the convection has withdrawn to the West not moved to the East as would be the case with a normal El Nino. That may still happen. In the 1997/1998 El Nino, that did not happen until 1998 which is why the Fall of 1997 was not wet for CONUS.

When I hear that with this El Nino the atmosphere is strongly coupled with the ocean, I really wonder what those meteorological agencies are smoking. It might be true on a worldwide basis but it does not appear to be the case as it impacts CONUS. The convection has not moved east. It has moved away from Indonesia which is an El Nino impact but it is remaining where one would expect it to be if this was a Modoki. This graphic may start to change soon. 

OLR Anomalies Along the Equator

Let us now take a look at the progress of the Kevin wave which is the key to the situation. Since February there have been three successive downwelling Kelvin Waves without really an upwelling Kelvin Wave of any consequence to counter their impact. The first wave which started in February was the most effective at getting this El Nino started. The second wave reinforced to some extent but not much and this third (and I believe last) downwelling Kelvin Wave has created an El Nino that will have a major peak coming soon and an extended life but at a diminished strength.

The main impact of this latest Kelvin Wave has already moved east to 150W. You also see the intense activity between just west of 130W and extending to just east of 100W. Perhaps one-third of that is in the area where the ONI is measured. Kelvin waves move east. You also see the cooling down of the water east of 90W but that has filled in recently. The maturation of this El Nino is a slow process and every El Nino has a different length. But if you think of an El Nino as typically lasting about a year or less, then this one is about half through its life.

Kelvin Waves Auto-updates

We are now going to change the way we look at a three dimensional view of the Equator and move from the surface view to the view from the surface down. When I examine the current situation as compared to the 1997/1998 El Nino which I described graphically last week, the current El Nino has developed more rapidly. This El Nino is a couple of months further along in its evolution than the 1997/1998 El Nino and will end earlier in the winter than the 1997/1998 El Nino. Also the 1997/1998 had a larger amount of slightly warmer subsurface water in the Eastern Pacific and that water takes time to surface, create convection, and thus cool. Something happens to allow the Easterlies to resume their strength and that in turn moves this water back towards the Western Pacific Warm Pool.

Current Sub-Surface Conditions

Subsurface Heat Anomalies

Top Graphic (Anomalies)

The above graphic showing the current situation has an upper and lower graphic.  The bottom graphic shows the absolute values, the upper graphic shows anomalies compared to what one might expect at this time of the year in the various areas both 130E to 90W Longitude and from the surface down to 450 meters.

The top graphic is the most useful of the two and shows where 2C (anomaly) water is impacting the area in which the ONI is measured i.e. 170W to 120W. The 2C anomaly now extends to 160W which is very impressive. There is also a small blip over at 175W. The subsurface warm water is making its way to the surface in the Eastern Pacific especially at 110W to 105W but also to some extent working its way deeper. The 3C anomaly is over to 140W which again is very impressive and which encompasses 40% of the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area for the ONI. One can see how the ONI can continue to increase for some time due to this warm subsurface water that is coming to the surface. 

One big issue is where will the +6C and +5C anomaly water go as it reaches the beaches of Ecuador? To the extent it prevents cooler water from reaching the surface, it can enhance convection and impact the Walker Circulation which could then provide positive feedback to this El Nino. But that warm water might tend to go north or south or both and there is some indication that some of it is working its way deeper where it probably will mix with cooler water coming north from further south. That is part of the phase out process for an El Nino and that is where we are in the life of this El Nino. It is peaking and will soon begin its decline. But it is certainly taking its sweet time probably because of the large amount of the subsurface warm water. Water is a very good insulator: I believe it has the second highest specific heat capacity of all known substances. 

It is important to differentiate between anomalies and actual temperature. The warm anomaly shown in the upper graphic is not covered by colder water as it might appear in the upper graphic but is shown as a warm anomaly because normally water at those depths is colder than it currently is. That is why this warm anomaly does not simply rise to the surface as warm water would normally do but it is preventing cooler water from entering the area as one would expect as summer transitions to Fall. That is why it takes time for this warm anomaly to dissipate.  

So that means that other than by mixing, that warm water under the surface will stay warm until it rises to the surface where it can be cooled by evaporation (while making clouds) or moves to the north where it will impact Mexico and the Southern Coast of the U.S. That is part of the basis for models predicting that the ONI of this El Nino will continue to rise.

Bottom Graphic (Absolute Values which highlights the Thermocline)

The bottom half of the graphic is not that useful in terms of tracking the progress of this Warm Event as it simply shows the thermocline between warm and cool water which pretty much looks like this as shown here during a Warm Event and you can see that the cooler water is not yet fully making it to the surface to the east along the coast of Ecuador. However, one now can see the increase in the slope of the thermocline (look at the 25C dividing line for example which has now reached the surface). We can now begin to monitor the 20C Isotherm which is often thought of as being the middle of the thermocline where the slope is also steepening and looks like it may reach the surface fairly soon. I have been saying that for a while but there has been essentially no change. We may want to pay more attention to the 28C Isotherm as west of that temperature is where convection is more easy to occur. Right now that Isotherm intersects the surface near 130W which is a big change since last week. 

TAO/TRITON GRAPHIC

Taking a close look at the bottom half of the TAO/TRITON graphic, notice that things are continuing to heat up. But so far there are few if any impacts on CONUS. So this raises real questions about how we measure an El Nino and how we do regression analysis on historical El Ninos.

I calculate the ONI each week using a method that I have devised. To refine my calculation, I have divided the 170W to 120W ONI measuring area into five subregions (that I have designated A through E (from west to east) with a location bar shown under the TAO/TRITON Graphic) and have mentally integrated what I see below and recorded that in the table I have constructed. Then I take the average of the anomalies I estimated for each of the five subregions.

 Current SST and wind anomalies

Location Bar for Nino 3.4 Area Above
-----------------------------------------------  A      B      C      D      E      ----------------

 

So as of Monday September 21 in the afternoon working from the September 20 TAO/TRITON report, this is what I calculated which is bit higher than my calculation last week.

Calculation of ONI from TAO/TRITON Graphic
Anomaly Segment Estimated Anomaly
A. 170W to 160W 1.5
B. 160W to 150W 1.7
C. 150W to 140W 2.3
D. 140W to 130W 2.3
E. 130W to 120W 2.7
Total 10.5
Total divided by five subregions i.e. the ONI (10.5)/5 = 2.1

My estimate of the Nino 3.4 ONI has increased to 2.1 with again the gradient from west to east being accentuated. NOAA has today again reported the weekly ONI as being 2.3 and that is certainly a very high level for an ONI even though it is a weekly value not a three-month average. The increase in the NOAA estimated ONI is I believe mostly due to the subsurface water in the Eastern Pacific maintaining the surface temperatures in the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area. The base changes seasonally and I do not have those numbers so it is a little hard for me to tell if the surface is actually warming or if what is happening is that the surface temperature is remaining constant and the base declines as winter approaches so a constant surface temperature records as an increased anomaly. In theory I could compare the graphics from week to week and perhaps figure that out. This warm water or at least warmer than normal for this time of year certainly impacts the weather in Ecuador and Peru but may not have a direct impact on weather in CONUS other than by spawning tropical cyclones which move north and enter the circulation of the Southwest Monsoon. It gets complicated because it seems that north of the Equator the water is definitely warmer and that is where tropical storms form. 

Nino 4.0 is reported as being 1.1. The action which I think is most important to track is in Nino 1+2 which is now reported as being up to 2.6 which is a big increase. One issue remains the extent to which warm water off of Ecuador and Peru impacts CONUS weather. I think it has very little impact and that is what we are seeing right now. The other issue is that most El Ninos decay from east to west so it will be observed most clearly first in Nino 1+2 and we are not seeing that yet. The highest readings are in Nino 3.0 which some use as a better indicator of an El Nino than Nino 3.4. The reading there is now 2.7. 

This is summarized in the following NOAA Table. You can also see the trends in this table. I believe that watching Nino 1+2 is the best way to track when this El Nino will begin to seriously decay. Curiously some of the warm water appears to be going deeper which I think accelerates the decline but I am not sure of that. The subsurface warm water has to be disposed of one way or another for ENSO to move back towards neutral or all the way to La Nina. 

Sept 21, 2015 NINO Departures

Here is another way of looking at it: Unlike the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Hovmoeller which takes an average down to 300 meters, this just measures the surface temperature anomaly. It is the surface that interacts with the atmosphere. As you can see the warm water rising off the South American Coast has worked its way all the way over to beyond 170W so it fully contributes to the increasing ONI. You can see the anomaly getting more intense at 110W. Until this week we could see that the water immediately off the coast of South American was generally cooling down but that has reversed and that area is showing an increase in the SST anomalies. It is a dynamic process. There remains a lot of subsurface warm water to be disposed of. That is a slow process and will continue for some time. But there are some signs that the process is close to peaking. The projection is for the ONI to be a bit higher than where it stands at 2.3 so we will see if this makes it to 2.4 (for a three-month period) tying the 1997/1998 El Nino or sets a new record. The peak is likely to occur within the next two months but you need a three-month average for it to be an official peak. This suggests that to get an ONI of 2.5, there will need to be a period of time where the weekly ONI is higher than that.

.SST Anomalies Hovmoeller

When you break it down by the areas used to track ENSO you get values for each of the four Nino Regions and those values and their trend is shown in the graphic presented just prior to this Hovmoeller. 

El Nino in the News

One could argue that this article is not about El Nino. But it is about ocean cycles. 

I will report next week on Sixteen-E as I will then be able to discuss the impacts of this Pacific Tropical Depression moving inland.   

"Hurricane Linda’s Remnants Drench Los Angeles with Wettest September Day in Decades". click here  and here to read more. 

Might this also be related to the initial impacts of an El Nino and in this case Linda in particular?  Some say yes. This tragedy should also remind us that weather events sometimes are given religious significance. That might be a good topic for me to address sometime in the future. 

It may or may not be directly related but predicting where a wildfire will move is very important. Read more here

Recent Impacts of Weather Mostly El Nino but possibly Also PDO and AMO Impacts.

First the Temperature and Precipitation Departures from three months ago (Ending Date June 13)

June 15, 2015 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures.

Then the same graphic one month later (Ending Date July 11)

July 13, 2015 30 Day Temperature and Preciptiation Departures

And then the same graphic (Ending Date August 8). 

August 10 2015 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

So this gives us a three-month sequence of monthly departures and that series of graphics showed a drying trend which is not exactly what you would expect with an El Nino arriving. For many parts of CONUS, it was a cooling trend also which may be associated with an El Nino.

And now the view from September 19 which is about six weeks later. 

September 21, 30 day temperature and precipitation departures.

As you can see Linda changed the situation a bit for Mexico. But overall there has not been much change from what I presented last week which is a big change from the 30 days ending August 8, 2015. 

View from Japan

ONI Forecast Sept 1, 2055

Putting it all Together.

We are in El Nino conditions now. The actual impacts on CONUS are not clear. We started in the Spring by having wetter conditions than usual in the Southwest but that has tapered off quite a bit. It is probably influencing the IOD to tend towards being positive thus providing a double whammy for parts of Asia and Australia but this is projected above to continue for only a month or two. That by itself should make us wonder what exactly is going on. 

The length and intensity of this El Nino is still not clear mostly in terms of whether or not it will extend into the early part of 2016. There does not seem to be an obvious match to any prior El Nino in the modern era which to me means there is no model to use to predict impacts.  

We may or may not have a Pacific Climate Shift as the PDO+ may be simply related to the Warm Event and quite frankly at this point appears to be and may be moving back to PDO Negative. But for now we do have PDO+. The AMO being an overturning may be more predictable so the Neutral status moving towards AMO- is probably fairly reliable but not necessarily proceeding in a straight line as indeed the storm track for hurricanes in the Atlantic is suddenly unusually warm. 

So in terms of long-term forecasting, none of this is very difficult to figure out actually if you are looking at say a five-year or longer forecast. The research on Ocean Cycles is fairly conclusive and widely available to those who seek it out. I have provided a lot of information on this in prior weeks and all of that information is preserved in Part II of my report in the Section on Low Frequency Cycles 3. Low Frequency Cycles such as PDO, AMO, IOBD, EATS.  It includes decade by decade predictions through 2050. Predicting a particular year is far harder.

We are beginning to speculate on the winter of 2016/2017 which I believe will tend to be ENSO Neutral but I am not so sure that it will not lean towards being a cool event or at least closer to a La Nina than neutral. One thing is fairly certain for the U.S. it will be less wet and warmer than the winter of 2015/2016 which will be quite wet and cool but perhaps for a shorter portion of the winter than NOAA has been predicting. JAMSTEC is predicting that the Spring of 2017 will begin a mild La Nina. That is a long way to make a prediction for a number of reasons including the Spring Prediction Barrier

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR PART II OF THIS REPORT  The links below may take you directly to the set of information that you have selected but in some Internet Browsers it may first take you to the top of Page II where there is a TABLE OF CONTENTS and take a few extra seconds to get you to the specific section selected. If you do not feel like waiting, you can click a second time within the TABLE OF CONTENTS to get to the specific part of the webpage that interests you. 

A. Worldwide Weather: Current and Three-Month Outlooks: 15 Month Outlooks  (Usefully bookmarked as it provides automatically updated current weather conditions and forecasts at all times. It does not replace local forecasts but does provide U.S. national and regional forecasts and, with less detail, international forecasts)

B. Factors Impacting the Outlook

1. Very High Frequency (short-term) Cycles PNA, AO,NAO (but the AO and NAO may also have a low frequency component.)

2. Medium Frequency Cycles such as ENSO and IOD

. Low Frequency Cycles such as PDO, AMO, IOBD, EATS.

C. Computer Models and Methodologies

D. Reserved for a Future Topic  (Possibly Predictable Economic Impacts)

TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR PART III OF THIS REPORT - GLOBAL WARMING WHICH SOME CALL CLIMATE CHANGE. The links below may take you directly to the set of information that you have selected but in some Internet Browsers it may first take you to the top of Page III where there is a TABLE OF CONTENTS and take a few extra seconds to get you to the specific section selected. If you do not feel like waiting, you can click a second time within the TABLE OF CONTENTS to get to the specific part of the webpage that interests you.

D1. Introduction

D2. Climate Impacts of Global Warming

D3. Economic Impacts of Global Warming

D,4. Reports from Around the World on Impacts of Global Warming.

Click here for a list of Sig Silber's Weather Posts

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