econintersect.com
       
  

FREE NEWSLETTER: Econintersect sends a nightly newsletter highlighting news events of the day, and providing a summary of new articles posted on the website. Econintersect will not sell or pass your email address to others per our privacy policy. You can cancel this subscription at any time by selecting the unsubscribing link in the footer of each email.



posted on 15 March 2016

March 14, 2016, Weather and Climate Report: Spring is Here as is La Nina

Written by

It records like an El Nino but behaves like a La Nina. What would you call it? I know enough Spanish to know that El Nina will not work. I just think of it as one confused El Nino. Apparently some years ago the Desert Research Institute (DRI) noticed that a strong El Nino might be somewhat northerly displaced but I guess no further research on this was performed. Actually I am more concerned about the major Arizona Flood that occurred the October after the Super El Nino of 1982/1983 but I gather that few want to think about that oddity which may not be happenstance but part of the pattern with this sort of El Nino. We will certainly find out. For now be happy. Spring is here.

 weather.caption

 

Not astronomical Spring as per this NASA supplied graphic.

Astronomical Seasons

But meteorological Spring which started on March 1.

You can see that in the configuration in the Pacific.

Day 6 Weather Forecast

The Aleutian Low is weakening, split into two lows, the main part is moving south. Overall it is going into hibernation and the Pacific is changing its orientation. That does not mean that cold weather is over.  In fact over the last few days there has been somewhat of a reversal in the transition. Spring in general is a transition period so one does not expect that a switch is thrown and everything just changes.

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.

Let's Focus on 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 more extensive report.  Worldwide Weather: Current and Three-Month Outlooks: 15 Month Outlooks will take you directly to that set of information but it may take a few seconds for your browser to go through the two-step process of getting to Page II and then moving to the Section within Page II that is specified by this link.

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.This graphic auto-updates so when you look at it you will see NOAA's latest thinking. The speed at which these troughs and ridges travel across the nation will determine the timing of weather impacts. This graphic auto-updates I think every six hours and it changes a lot.

7 Day 500 MB Geopotential Forecast

Right now it is showing for Day 7 a Ridge over the Rocky Mountains and a deep Trough passing over the Great Lakes and reaching the East Coast. That would normally mean that one could decide what sort of weather one prefers and adjust their travel plans accordingly. Because "Thickness Lines" are shown by those green lines on this graphic, it is a good place to define "Thickness"  and its uses. The 540 Level general signifies equal chances for snow at sea level locations. You can see where that is forecast. Time for some snow perhaps in the Northeast. Overall it has been a warm winter and it is already meteorological Spring. The groundhog may have gotten it correct.

The MJO has shifted to its inactive phase. If the usual pattern applies, there will be another active phase later this month and the first half of April .The MJO is thought by some to be relatively unimportant during the winter but perhaps a strong El Nino increases the relevance of the MJO: another research question for NOAA. They have a lot to think about.

Notice the Northern Pacific is like a giant anticyclone with clockwise motion so that which gets sent west due to El Nino is to some extent returned to North America but at higher latitudes.

Western Pacific Tropical Activity

As I am looking at the below graphic Monday evening March 14, I again see a northerly displace weather pattern. This graphic updates automatically so it most likely will look different by the time you look at it as the weather patterns are moving from west to east especially in the north.

 Water Vapor Imagery

Below is an analysis of projected tropical hazards and benefits over an approximately two-week period. This graphic is scheduled to update on Tuesday and I am reading the March 8, 2016 Version and looking at Week 2 of that forecast.
Tropical Hazards

Mostly I see for the period March 16 -  March 22, 2016 a moderate likelihood of below average precipitation for the Maritime Continent and a moderate likelihood of tropical cyclone formation in Northern Australia.  We some some small areas of moderate likelihood of above average precipitation in parts of Africa. There is also the persistent moderate likelihood of dry conditions in Eastern Brazil and Uruguay. You can see that the majority of the impacts continue to be west of the Date Line but even there they are much reduced as this El Nino dies.

Below is a graphic which highlights the forecasted surface Highs and the Lows re air pressure on Day 6 (the Day 3 forecast is available on Page II of this Report). This graphic also auto-updates.

Day 6 Weather Forecast

In recent weeks, the projected location and strength of the Aleutian Low has varied a lot. On some days, the forecast is showing a split low with each of the two lows weaker than a combined single Low. Right now the forecasted Low has an hPa of 988 which is (the average in the winter is 1001hPa and 994 hPa for a non-split Low) a little stronger than normal. It is a split low. All through January and February we had a Supercharged El Nino Pattern that produced La Nina impacts. This now for the first time since December looks like it will be a traditional El Nino Pattern but the Aleutian Low is weakening and moving away from the Gulf of Alaska, which is the ideal El Nino location for the Aleutian Low, and is actually to some extent moving into the Central Pacific. The rapidly shifting position of the Low makes a big difference in how storms are steered. A longer discussion of the climate of Beringia and the role of the Aleutian Low is in Part II of this Report:  2. Medium Frequency Cycles such as ENSO and IOD

Looking at the current activity of the Jet Stream

Current Jet Stream

One can certainly see that the wind speeds in the Jet are a bit stronger than recently especially where the Jet Stream begins to impact the West Coast. The path of the current weather pattern is fairly clear from this graphic.

And here is the forecast out five days. 

Jet Stream Five Days Out

It appears that the Jet Stream is projected to be strongest in the East. Not all weather is controlled by the Jet Stream (which is a high altitude phenomenon) but it does play a major role in steering storm systems.  In this case the storm track is going through Mexico and only impacting Florida. With the MJO in its inactive phase, we have the split stream that we look for in an El Nino but the Southern Branch is not impacting CONUS. So we are not having the expected impacts from this El Nino.

To see how the pattern is projected to evolve, please click here. In addition to the shaded areas which show an interpretation of the Jet Stream, one can also see the wind vectors (arrows) at the 300 Mb level.

This longer animation shows how the jet stream is crossing the Pacific and when it reaches the U.S. West Coast is going every which way.

Here is a very flexible computer graphic. You can adjust what is being displayed by clicking on "earth" adjusting the parameters and then clicking again on "earth" to remove the menu. Right now it is set up to show the 500 hPa wind patterns which is the main way of looking at synoptic weather patterns.

And when we look at Sea Surface anomalies below, we see a lot of them not just along the Equator related to El Nino.

Daily SST Anomaly

There is a lot of warm water off of Peru and even Chile but it is clearly not connected to the ENSO Warm Pool at the surface. So we essentially have a Modoki pattern at this point in terms of weather impacts. To me it looks like the overall Northern Pacific is indeed PDO Positive (the horseshoe pattern with the cool anomaly inside the horseshoe shape) but that is just an eyeball estimate but from other sources I hear that the PDO Index is being reported at 1.5 and that seems reasonable but it looks even stronger now than last week. I do not have a good source for daily PDO readings. But this pattern looks like it is on the way to PDO 2.0 but that may be transitory. The water off the West Coast is warm and the four-week analysis shows a little change in some places to an increase in the warm anomaly but that might be deceiving as the more recent four week analysis shows less change so the math suggests that actually means cooling. The water off the East Coast of the U.S. is also warm but the four-week analysis shows it is not changing much. Further north but off the North American Coast and south of Greenland and Iceland, the North Atlantic is cooler than normal which is consistent with AMO+ and has implications for the NAO. Waters around Australia are warm except immediately off the west coast. The waters off of Japan are now warm. The set up is for a typical PDO-/AMO+ weather pattern but we are not getting that just yet and NOAA is not noticing but making statistical forecasts when it is fairly obvious there is a missing variable in their equations.  I believe that variable has been the location of the Icelandic Low which recently was starting to reposition itself more appropriately for an El Nino but the tail end of an El Nino. 

Below I show the changes over the last month in the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) anomalies.

March 14, 2016 Change in Weekly SST

Since these are "departures" or "anomalies", it is not a seasonal pattern that is being shown. Comparing a four-week graphic to a prior four-week graphic is always tricky since only 25% of the data has changed and I am not showing the former graphic (it is in last week's report). I add the new one, compare and comment on the change and then delete the old one to keep this report to a manageable size. What I see as I look at both (before deleting the prior version) is an expansion of the area of cooling in the Northern Hemisphere Central Pacific. There is continued warming in the Indian Ocean and a reduction in the warm anomaly off the West Coast of Africa. It continues to warm off of the coast of Peru which is interesting and you can see the small blip of warming around the Galapagos Islands.The warming trend off of Indochina has stopped.

6 -  10 Day Outlook

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 always available in Part II of this report but in the winter I often show both maps as the forecasted weather patterns change during that nine day period.

o put the forecasts which NOAA tends to call Outlooks into perspective, I am going to show the three-month MAM Outlook and the newly updated Outlook for the single month of March 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 February 18, 2016:

MAM 2016 Temperature Outlook Issued February 18, 2016

Here is the recently updated Outlook for March Temperature.

March Temperature Outlook Issued on February 29, 2016

Below is the current 6 - 10 Day and 8 - 14 Day Temperature Outlook Maps which will auto-update and thus be current when you view them. It covers the nine days following the tail end of the current week. I have included both today and probably will continue to do that all winter as the patterns are moving from west to east fairly rapidly.

As I view these two maps on March 14 (it updates each day), it appears that Late-March will yet again have an East/West divide of temperature anomalies not the North/'South divide normally associated with an El Nino and which has been in the Seasonal Outlook in January, February and March. NOAA is very wedded to their statistical method of forecasting and seems to not have noticed that our weather is not conforming to that statistical analysis. The result is the 6 - 14 Day Outlooks (especially for precipitation) routinely bear little resemblance to the Monthly and three-month forecasts. That is a separate question from how well the 6 - 14 Day Outlooks work out. I will say the 6 - 10 Day and 8 - 14 Day Outlooks change a lot more on a day to day basis than one would expect from simply the addition of one day and the removal of one day.

6 - 10 Day Temperature Outlook

6 - 10 Day Temperature Outlook

8 - 14 Day Temperature Outlook  

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

Now - Precipitation 

Here is the three-month Precipitation Outlook issued on February 18, 2016:

MAM 2016 Precipitation Outlook Issued January 21, 2016

Here is the recently updated Outlook for March Precipitation.

March 2016 Precipitation Outlook Issued on February 29, 2016

Below are the current 6 - 10 Day and 8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook Maps which will auto-update and thus be current when you view them. It covers the nine days following the tail end of the current week. I have included both today and probably will continue to do that all winter as the patterns are moving from west to east fairly rapidly.

As I view these two maps on March 14 (they update each day), it looks like precipitation for Late-March will in the latter part of the forecast period continue the North/South divide but more like a La Nina than an El Nino. Earlier in the forecast period, it is an East/West divide.

6 - 10 Day Precipitation Outlook

6 - 10 Day Precipitation Outlook

8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook 

Current 8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook

Here are excerpts from the NOAA discussion released today March 14, 2016. It covers the full nine-day period and this week I have shown both the 6 -10 Day and the  8 - 14 Day Maps.

6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR MAR 20 - 24 2016

TODAY'S NUMERICAL MODELS ARE IN FAIRLY GOOD AGREEMENT ON THE PREDICTED 500-HPA FLOW PATTERN ACROSS MUCH OF THE FORECAST DOMAIN. A TROUGH IS PREDICTED OVER THE GULF OF ALASKA AND A RIDGE IS PREDICTED OVER WESTERN CANADA. DOWNSTREAM OF THIS RIDGE, AN AMPLIFIED TROUGH IS PREDICTED OVER THE EASTERN CONUS. TODAY'S OFFICIAL 500-HPA HEIGHT BLEND IS COMPOSED PRIMARILY OF THE ENSEMBLE MEAN SOLUTIONS FROM THE ECMWF, GFS, AND CANADIAN ENSEMBLE MEAN DUE TO CONSIDERATIONS  OF RECENT SKILL AND ON ANALOG CORRELATIONS, WHICH MEASURE HOW CLOSELY THE PREDICTED PATTERN MATCHES CASES THAT HAVE OCCURRED IN THE PAST 60 DAYS.  

ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED THE SOUTHERN ALASKA, THE ALEUTIANS AND THE ALASKA PANHANDLE DUE TO THE ANOMALOUS SOUTHEASTERLY FLOW.  ANOMALOUS PACIFIC FLOW FAVORS ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR THE WESTERN CONUS. BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED ACROSS THE SOUTHEAST CONUS DUE TO THE MEAN TROUGH AT 500-HPA HEIGHTS.

AS A STRONG STORM SYSTEM IS PREDICTED TO MOVE ONSHORE DURING THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD, ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR THE ALASKA PANHANDLE, AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST.  ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ALSO PREDICTED OVER THE NORTHEAST AND IN FLORIDA RELATED TO THE TROUGH ALOFT OVER THE EAST CONUS. BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR THE SOUTHWESTERN AND CENTRAL CONUS. BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FORECAST OVER NORTHERN ALASKA AND THE ALEUTIANS CONSISTENT WITH PRECIPITATION ESTIMATES FROM THE GFS AND ECMWF ENSEMBLE MEAN.  

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD: ABOVE AVERAGE, 4 OUT OF 5, DUE GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG ENSEMBLE MEANS, OFFSET BY MODERATE TO HIGH MODEL SPREAD.

8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR MAR 22 - 28 2016 

DURING WEEK-2, THE MEAN TROUGH AND RIDGE OF 500-HPA HEIGHT PATTERNS ARE VERY SIMILAR TO THESE IN 6-10 DAY PERIOD. HOWEVER, THE AMPLITUDES OF THE RIDGE AND TROUGH ARE WEAKER THAN THAT IN 6-10 DAY PERIOD. THE ENSEMBLE SPAGHETTI DIAGRAMS INDICATE MODERATE TO HIGH SPREAD ACROSS THE MAJORITY OF THE FORECAST DOMAIN. 

ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED FOR WESTERN ALASKA, THE ALEUTIANS, AND ALASKA PANHANDLE DUE TO ANOMALOUS SOUTHEASTERLY FLOW. ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED ACROSS THE CONUS DUE TO PACIFIC FLOW LIKELY DOMINATING. 

THE PRECIPITATION PROBABILITY FORECAST IN THE WEEK-2 PERIOD CONTAINS A MUCH  LARGER AREA FAVORING ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION DUE TO THE MORE PROGRESSIVE  PATTERN AND MORE STORM SYSTEMS EXPECTED TO TRACK ACROSS THE NORTHERN CONUS. BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR THE SOUTHWESTERN CONUS AND THE SOUTHEAST COAST, CONSISTENT WITH THE BIAS CORRECTED PRECIPITATION OUTPUT FROM  THE ECMWF ENSEMBLES AND GEFS REFORECAST GUIDANCE. BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS  ALSO FAVORED FOR MUCH OF ALASKA, EXCEPT THE ALASKA PANHANDLE. 

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD IS: AVERAGE, 3 OUT OF 5, DUE TO  REASONABLY GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG THE ENSEMBLE MEANS OFFSET BY MODERATE TO HIGH MODEL SPREAD.

Some might find this analysis interesting as the organization which prepares it looks at things from a very detailed perspective and their analysis provides a lot of information on the history and evolution of this El Nino.

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

Mar 1, 1953 El Nino - + Late arriving
Mar 14, 1953 El Nino - + Late arriving
Mar 6, 1961 Neutral N +  
Mar 1, 1973 El Nino - - Very Strong but PDO Negative
Mar 9, 1977 El Nino + - Tail End
Feb 23, 2000 La Nina - +  

One thing that jumped out at me right away was the tight spread among the analogs from Feb 23 to March 14 which is about three weeks and almost identical to last week as if time stopped relative to the progression of the seasons.. There are this time four El Nino Analogs and one ENSO Neutral Analog and one La Nina Analog suggesting that El Nino is again in full control over our weather for the next 6 - 14 Days. However, the phases of the ocean cycles in the analogs point towards McCabe Condition D which favors a La Nina pattern which is exactly what the 6 - 14 Day Outlook predicts. The seminal work on the impact of the PDO and AMO on U.S. climate can be found here. Water Planners might usefully pay attention to the low-frequency cycles such as the AMO and the PDO as the media tends to focus on the current and short-term forecasts to the exclusion of what we can reasonably anticipate over multi-decadal periods of time.

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 as easily interpreted. 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 + +          
T ASO 2006   DJF 2007 1.0 - + JAS 2007  MJJ 2008 -1.4 - +
M JJA 2009 MAM 2010 1.3 N + 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/running average.

Date Current Reading 30-Day Average 90 Day Average
Mar 8 +6.4 -22.84 -16.15
Mar 9 +9.5 -22.33 -15.80
Mar 10 -0.4 -22.12 -15.59
Mar 11 +0.2 -22.13 -15.45
Mar 12 +2.5 -22.35 -15.37
Mar 13 +4.8 -22.28 -15.26
Mar 14 +6.9 -21.57 -15.09

The active phase of the MJO has changed to the inactive phase and you see this in La Nina-ish SOI readings. The 30-day average, which is the most widely used measure, as of March 14 is reported at -21.57 which is definitely a reading that is associated with an El Nino (usually required to be more negative than -8.0 but some consider -6.0 value good enough). There have been no such El Nino-ish daily readings this past week. The 30 day average which is most widely used was marginally less El Nino-ish. The 90-day average remains in El Nino territory at -15.09 which is slightly less El Nino-ish than last week.  Usually but not always the 90 day average changes more slowly than the 30 day average but it depends on what values drop out. The SOI continues to be indicative of an El Nino Event in progress but it is pretty much passed the time of year where it is very meaningful re El Nino development.  I believe we will continue to see a moderating trend in the SOI from here on with the possible exception of the next Active Phase of the MJO. .

The MJO or Madden Julian Oscillation is an important factor in regulating the SOI and Kelvin Waves and other tropical weather characteristics. More information on the MJO can be found here. Here is another good resource and it shows that right now the MJO is inactive in the Pacific Ocean.

Low-Level Wind Anomalies

Here are the low-level wind anomalies. In October, the area from 180W to 160W was of interest and quite intense. There then was an area of interest at 160W which also was quite intense. Now, calm appears to prevail but there recently was a WWB (Westerly Wind Burst) in January near and east of the Date Line related to Tropical Storm Pali which has long since dissipated. But look at the intensity of the wind anomaly associated with that WWB: 14 That might be "all she wrote" for this El Nino as calm winds prevail. Well that is until two weeks ago when we had a MJO induced WWB at 180W to 160W. I suspect it is too late to generate Kelvin Wave #6. Some claim to have detected the presence of a Kelvin Wave #6 but I do not see it so if there was one, it was very weak.

Low Level Wlind Anomalies

OLR Anomalies Along the Equator

In the above graphic, you can see how the convection pattern recently shifted a bit to the east probably due to the active phase of the MJO and now has returned to the position it has been in since August 2015. We predicted that to happen last week.

Kelvin Waves

Let us now take a look at the progress of Kelvin Waves which are the key to the situation.  From the earliest to the most recent they can be named #1 through #5.  Kelvin Wave #1 will soon be pushed off the top of this graphic as more recent information is added at the bottom.

Kelvin Waves Auto-updates

Kelvin Wave #5 which was fairly late in the El Nino development phase introduced a new episode of warming from 150W to 100W. But this Kelvin Wave was less intense than Kelvin Waves #3 and #4 and has now moved through the NINO 3.4 Measurement Area (170W to 120W) and no longer significantly impacts the ONI calculations. But Kelvin Wave # 5 did slow the retreat to the west of the Eastern Pacific Subsurface Warm Pool. That is why I believe the transition to ENSO Neutral will proceed more slowly than some have predicted. I see no sign of a Kelvin Wave #6 unless one views the slight retraction of the upwelling wave following Kelvin Wave #5 as being Kelvin Wave #6. If so it is so insignificant that it can be ignored. This El Nino is now dying.  We now see the next Upwelling Phase of this Kelvin Wave which is the Coup de Grace for this El Nino.

One should keep in mind that for a new Kelvin Wave, the period of time from initiation to the termination of impacts is about six months. So when you have four or five in a row, the pattern of impacts on different indices and geographic areas becomes quite complex. It is further complicated as you can see above because the Kelvin Waves do not necessarily originate at the same location i.e. longitude. Looking at many factors I have come to a conclusion that his El Nino may have the greatest impact on CONUS during March and probably also April of 2016 rather than in Dec 2015 and January - February of 2016. The major impacts have started a bit later and most likely will last a bit longer. The pattern in January and February have not been for the West typical of an El Nino.

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. This El Nino appears to be fading slowly from west to east. The real decline will be from east to west.

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 still the most useful of the two and shows where the 2C (anomaly) water is impacting the area in which the ONI is measured i.e. 170W to 120W. The 2C anomaly again extends to 180W or a bit further to the west and this may well indicate that the Warm Pool has begun its journey to the Western Pacific. At the eastern end, the 2C anomaly is intersecting the surface at about 105W. This is easier to see in the TAO/TRITON graphic presented later and which is more current. The 3C anomaly no longer intersects the surface. It explains why NOAA is coming up with lower ONI estimates. The 6C and 5C anomalies no longer exist. The 4C anomaly is now very small and east of the ONI Measurement Area. Water temperatures off the Coast of South America near the Equator have returned to normal. But there is warming near the Galapagos as Kelvin Wave #4 comes to the surface.

Bottom Graphic (Absolute Values which highlights the Thermocline)

The bottom half of the graphic may soon become more useful in terms of tracking the progress of this Warm Event as it converts to ENSO Neutral and then La Nina.

It shows the thermocline between warm and cool water which pretty much looks like this as shown here during a Warm Event. You can see that the cooler water is not yet fully making it to the surface to the east along the coast of Ecuador. In fact, the 25C Isotherm now reaches the surface. We now will pay more attention to the 28C Isotherm as west of that temperature is where convection is more easy to occur. The 28C Isotherm has pretty much remained in the same place for months now but appears now to be drifting to the west. However there is now a shallow 28C Isotherm east of 140W which I believe is the warm pool surfacing and moving to the west. That could impact the weather for Ecuador and Peru.

Here are the above graphics as a time sequence animation. You may have to click on them to get the animation going.

Equatorial Temperature Simulation

Isotherm Simulation

TAO/TRITON GRAPHIC

This discussion is longer than necessary to describe current conditions but I am retaining the snap shots of the earlier TAO/TRITON graphics to allow the reader to understand how this El Nino evolved and how it is not decaying.

Let us compare the situation as reported on October 4 to the most recent graphic. Remember each graphic has two parts the top part is the average values, the bottom part is those values expressed as an anomaly compared to the expected values for that date. Generally I am mainly discussing the bottom of the pairs of graphics namely the anomalies

First the October 4 version which I am providing for purposes of comparison. I "flash froze" the daily value that day so that it would not auto-update.

Oct 4, 2015 TAO/TRITON

And then the December 14 version which I also "flash froze" to stop it from updating.

December 14, 2015 Frozen TAO/TRITON GRAPHIC

And then the current version of the TAO/TRITON Graphic.

Current SST and wind anomalies

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

It is quite a bit less intense than on December 14. The 3.5C anomaly is no longer visible. Neither is the 3.0C anomaly and neither is the 2.5C anomaly.  The 2C anomaly is no longer continuous. There is a small portion in the Eastern Pacific related to the upwelling of Kelvin Wave #5 but it is mostly east of the Nino 3.4/ONI Measurement Area and will soon be gone anyway - but not as quickly as I had thought. The western part of the 2.0C anomaly remains but it will gradually shrink and or drift to the west out of the Nino 3.4/ONI Measurement Area.  So basically the maximum anomalies (which did not appear everywhere) have declined by a full degree Centigrade and that will soon be a decline of 1.5C. This means that if one is attempting to mentally estimate the daily ONI, an approach would be to make an initial estimate of the midpoint of the 2.0C to 2.49C or 2.25C and subtract the reductions from there where the anomaly is less.Soon the starting point will be 1.75C. What I have just described is not exactly the approach I use in my calculation below but it does provide a quick way to get a feel for the current strength of this El Nino. There is actually shading in the TAO/TRITON Graphic that might allow one to try to refine estimates a bit more than the contour lines but I rely on the contour lines. The Easterlies have declined temporarily due to the MJO but that will change soon and the Easterlies will then blow the surface warm water to the west.

And an earlier but recent reference point close to the peak of this El Nino re the bottom half of the TAO/TRITON Graphic. You can certainly see the difference that six weeks makes.

January 19, 2016 Frozen TAU/TRITON Graphic

The below table tracks the changes. It only addresses the situation right on the Equator so visually the TAO/TRITON graphic contains more information. But the below table turns visual information into quantitative information so it may be useful. The degrees of coverage shown in the rightmost two columns shows that the extent of the warm water directly on the Equator has been reduced in the past few weeks. The way I constructed the table, the 1.0C anomaly as an example includes all water warmer than 1.0C so the 1.5C anomaly is included within it as well as the 2.0C anomaly which you can tell by the way I recorded the westward and eastward coordinates. I could have constructed this table in a different way. Note the 3C anomaly no longer exists. The 2.5C anomaly also no longer exists as of mid-week. As this El Nino decays I am including the less warm anomalies in the table below.

Comparing Now to January 19, 2016
Subareas of the Warm Anomaly Westward Extension Eastward Extension Degrees of Coverage
Today January 19, 2016 Today January 19, 2026 Today January 19, 2016
3C Anomaly Gone 158W Gone 134W 0 24
2.5C Anomaly Gone 165W Gone 110W 0 55
2.0C Anomaly 175W* 170W 150W* 100W 25 70
1.5C Anomaly 175E 175W Land Land 90 80
1.0C Anomaly 165E 175E Land Land 110 90

* Western part of the anomaly only.

As the warm anomaly has declined in intensity it has expanded to the west a bit as would be expected as the warm pool begins to move back towards the Western Pacific. So far there has not been much movement but mainly the cooling of the water from the surface in the Eastern Pacific warm pool probably mostly due to evaporation and thus convection.

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 (which I have designated from west to east as A through E) with a location bar shown under the TAO/TRITON Graphic). I use a rough estimation approach to integrate what I see below and record that in the table I have constructed. Then I take the average of the anomalies I estimated for each of the five subregions. So as of Monday March 14, in the afternoon working from the March 13 TAO/TRITON report, this is what I calculated.

Calculation of ONI from TAO/TRITON Graphic
Anomaly Segment Estimated Anomaly
  Last Week This Week
A. 170W to 160W 1.7 1.8
B. 160W to 150W 1.9 2.1
C. 150W to 140W 1.8 1.7
D. 140W to 130W 1.7 1.7
E. 130W to 120W 1.8 1.8
Total 8.9 9.1
Total divided by five subregions i.e. the ONI (8.9)/5 =1.8 (9.1)/5 = 1.8

My estimate of the daily Nino 3.4 ONI after rounding is down to 1.8. NOAA has also reported the weekly ONI to have further declined slightly to 1.8.  Nino 4.0 is being reported as slightly higher at 1.5. Which could be a Kelvin Wave #6 or more likely the beginning of the Warm Anomaly beginning its journey back to the Western Pacific. Nino 3.0 is being reported as declining to 1.6. The action which I think is most important to track right now is in Nino 1+2 which is now reported as having increased to 1.2 which may be the the impact of Kelvin Wave #4 reaching that area or some local phenomenon. This is summarized in the following NOAA Table. I am only showing the currently issued version as the prior values are shown in the small graphics on the right with this graphic. Notice that all the primary El Nino related indices i.e. Nino 3.4 and Nino 3 are in decline. The key index Nino 3.4 is declining rapidly.

March 14, 2016 Nino Readings

The official reading for Dec/Jan/Feb is now reported as 2.2. I have discussed before the mystery of how the values above get translated into the values below and if NOAA feels that working with two sets of books is a good way to operate, who am I argue. Many businesses do the same thing. As you can see this El Nino peaked in NDJ and is now declining and depending on what system you use it is either the 2nd or 3rd strongest El Nino since modern records were kept which is considered to be 1950. You could argue for it being #1 based on a week of readings but few are buying that argument. Still #2 or #3 means it is one of the strongest ever based on the way these events are measured. I will be writing more about that soon in a separate article. I believe the measurement system is inadequate re being useful in forecasting Worldwide weather impacts.

The full history of the ONI readings can be found here.   The MEI index readings can be found here.

Is this El Nino a Modoki?

It did not evolve as a Modoki unless you consider it to be a continuation of the Faux El Nino Modoki of 2014/2015 which is a possible interpretation. But the Walker Circulation appears to be much like that of a Modoki. These graphics help explain this.

Although I discussed the Kelvin Waves earlier, now seems to be the best place to show the evolution of the subsurface temperatures.

March 14 Kelvin Wave History

Watching an El Nino evolve is like watching paint dry. The undercutting cool anomaly which had withdrawn to the west quite a bit is again expanding to the east and again quite rapidly basically arriving at 115W (the easternmost extension is faint on the graphic) which means it has now undercut all of the NINO 3.4 Measurement Area.  All that remains is for "The Grand Switch" to occur with the cool anomaly reversing positions with the warm anomaly.  So either this will be a slow process or some event will just flush the warm water to the west. It may be this Inactive Phase of the MJO that does just that. It is just a matter of time and watching more paint dry. You can also clearly see the rapid separation of the Warm Pool from the South American Continent.

SST Surface Anomaly Hovmoeller

Here is another way of looking at it: Unlike the Upper Ocean Heat Anomaly Hovmoeller (I call it the Kelvin Wave 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 and causes convection and also the warming and cooling of the atmosphere. A major advantage of the Hovmoeller method of displaying information is that it shows the history so I do not need to show a sequence of snap shots of the conditions at different points in time. Nevertheless this Hovmoeller provides a good way to visually see the evolution of this El Nino and later track its demise.

SST Anomalies Hovmoeller

I do not usually show the NOAA Weekly ENSO Report version of this because it does not auto update. But it is the same data (the above is the source) and they pretty it up real nice and it becomes very readable. So here it is.

March 14, 2016 NOAA Graphic of SST Departures

One can easily see the historical evolution of this El Nino and the "hot spots" that existed in December and which resulted in the very high ONI readings. You can see at the very bottom of this graphic, which shows the most recent readings, the easing of the extreme temperature anomalies in the Nino 3.4 Measurement area (see the scale on the right: red is less warm than dark red) namely 170W to 120W. That explains the slight reduction in NOAA ONI estimate. That is likely to continue to be the trend. You can see the steady decay in the anomalies from the east between 80W and beyond 150W. You also can clearly see the separation of the Warm Anomaly from the coast of South America. You also see the drifting to the west which could be Kelvin Wave #6 but I believe more likely it is the beginning of the return voyage of the warm pool to the Western Pacific. That is what the ENSO CYCLE is all about. Back and Forth....Back and Forth. 

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

Below are snapshots of 30 Day temperature and precipitation departures over the life of this El Nino. The end date of the 30 day period is shown in the graphic.  It is a way of seeing how the impacts of this El Nino have unfolded.

June 15, 2015 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures.

July 13, 2015 30 Day Temperature and Preciptiation Departures

August 10 2015 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

Sept 5, 2015 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

Oct 3, 2015 30 day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

30 day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

November 30, 2015 30 day temperature and precipitation departures.

January 4, 2016 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

February 1, 2016 30 Day Temperature and Weather Departures.

Feb  29, 2016 temperature and Precipitation Departures.

March 7, 2016 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

March 14, 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures.

Remember this is a 30 day average and only seven days were added and seven days were removed. The La Nina pattern persists for the West with respect to both precipitation and temperature and has even spread to the Southeast. IT IS QUITE DRAMATIC!  But you see that California has gotten some relief and parts of Mexico and Texas have also gotten some relief. For the Mississippi Valley that relief may not have been totally welcome. The East Coast has joined in the warmer anomalies. This is one strange El Nino and for the 2nd or 3rd strongest in modern history it is a mystery that has not been given adequate attention. 

I realize this is a lot of graphics but one needs to look at the history of an event to assess it. As you can see, so far we are not having the expected El Nino Impacts in CONUS.

El Nino in the News

California gets March Precipitation

Southeast Flooding

Strange events in the Fall after a similarly strong El Nino. Might that happen again? The 1983 Arizona Flood  More more detail here

View from Australia

El Nino

Australia POAMA ENSO model run

Below is the discussion just released. Notice they are not forecasting a La Nina for next winter. :

El Niño continues its steady decline

Issued on 15 March 2016

The 2015–16 El Niño continues its slow and steady decline. The tropical Pacific Ocean has cooled further over the past fortnight, and trade winds are near normal. However the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) remains very low, indicating that while El Niño is easing, it is still capable of influencing Australian and global climate.

International climate models indicate that cooling in the tropical Pacific will continue, with a likely return to neutral levels by mid-2016. For winter and spring, climate models favour ENSO neutral slightly ahead of La Niña. However, accuracy of forecasts made at this time of year are lower than those at other times, and therefore some caution should be exercised.

Although the 2015–16 El Niño is weakening, it will continue to influence climate during the southern hemisphere autumn. In Australia, the breakdown of strong El Niña events has historically brought average to above average rainfall to many locations. However, northern Australia typically sees less rainfall than usual.

Australia's climate is also being influenced by record warm temperatures in the Indian Ocean. The warmth in the Indian Ocean may provide extra moisture for rain systems as they cross Australia during the southern autumn.

Next update expected on 29 March 2016

IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole)

IOD POAMA Model Run

The graphic comes with only a very short discussion and here is that discussion:

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is neutral. The weekly Dipole Mode Index value to 13 March was −0.23 °C. The IOD does not typically influence Australian climate during the months December to May, when the monsoon trough is in the southern hemisphere (as positive and negative events are not typically able to form in monsoonal flow).

Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) remain significantly warmer than average across the tropical Indian Ocean, with large areas measuring warmest on record for February 2016.

The interrelationship between the IOD and El Nino is complicated and not fully understood. A negative IOD is less frequently discussed. Here is the explanation from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Notice that since 1958, four of the negative IOD's occurred during La Nina conditions and five of the negative IOD's occurred during ENSO Neutral Conditions. Two weeks ago they were predicting a negative IOD and now the model indicates it is a possibility but with less likelihood than in the prior model run.

Putting it all Together.

This El Nino has peaked in intensity and is now in rapid decline. We are beginning to speculate on the winter of 2016/2017 which now according to some of the models seems increasingly likely to be a La Nina.

The below is the CPC/IRI forecast issued on February 18, 2016. It is important to remember that the first report in each month is based on a survey of meteorologists and the second report later in the month is based on the analysis of the forecast models. It is a minor difference but a difference.

March 14, 2016 IRI/CPC Consensus Based ENSO Analysis

You can see the slower decline of the El Nino which has been obvious to us for a long time. The new Plume-Based model results show increased confidence that next winter will be a La Nina winter.

We have suggested that it is possible the models will be wrong about how fast the Eastern Pacific Warm Pool moves back towards its La Nina location and it may well be that next winter will be more of a Neutral year or even have some characteristics of an El Nino Modoki and thus be wetter than a typical year as the Warm Pool may still be more in the Central Pacific than shifted all the way west to its La Nina position.

We have reason to believe that the models may not be taking into account all factors such as the Equatorial ocean currents and that this El Nino may not transition to a La Nina quite as rapidly as some of the models are predicting.

What is really strange is the NOAA's own model disagrees with their official IRI/CPC Model. What is that all about?

 CFS.V2 SST Forecast

Notice the NOAA model is forecasting a mild El Nino for next winter. It is too soon to begin discussing the Spring Prediction Barrier this week but I would take all these forecasts with a grain of salt at this point in time. It is only March 14 and too early to forecast next winter.

Forecasting Beyond Five Years.

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.

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

3. 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

D4. Reports from Around the World on Impacts of Global Warming

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

>>>>> Scroll down to view and make comments <<<<<<










Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, using Livefyre just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.



You can also comment using Facebook directly using he comment block below.





Econintersect Weather


search_box

Print this page or create a PDF file of this page
Print Friendly and PDF


The growing use of ad blocking software is creating a shortfall in covering our fixed expenses. Please consider a donation to Econintersect to allow continuing output of quality and balanced financial and economic news and analysis.


Take a look at what is going on inside of Econintersect.com
Main Home
Analysis Blog
The Expected Effects of Petitions to Improve the Monetary System
Energy and Falling Productivity
News Blog
Why Mosquitoes Bite Some People
September 2016 Texas Manufacturing Survey Improves Further Into Expansion.
August 2016 New Home Sales Decline On Lower Median Sales Prices.
U.S. Real Wage Growth: Fast Out Of The Starting Blocks - Part 1 Of 2
Who Works More Hours Per Week: Rich Or Poor Countries?
Infographic Of The Day: How The World's Most Iconic Logos Evolve Over Time
Early Headlines: Asia Stocks Down, Fed Wants Banks' Commodity Limits, Treasuries Being Sold, EZ Business Output Softens, France Contraction, Saudi's Boost Banks, Canada Tightens Borders For Chinese And More
Most Read Articles Last Week Ending 24 September
How Britain Owes Its Immigrants A Debt Of Gratitude
Super Mario, The Timeless Bestseller
Explainer: The Nine Swing States That Will Decide The Next US President
How Long Does Apple Support Older IPhone Models
What We Read Today 25 September 2016
Investing Blog
Monday Morning Call 26 September
We're Back Here We Started
Opinion Blog
Heading For A Fall? With Summer Over, Europe Must Face Up To Its Mounting Crises
What If We're In A Depression But Don't Know It?
Precious Metals Blog
War On Cash Turns To $20, $50, And $100 Bills
Live Markets
26Sep2016 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Fractionally Lower, Volatility Expected In The Crude Markets Later This Week, First Presidential Debate Tonight
Amazon Books & More






.... and keep up with economic news using our dynamic economic newspapers with the largest international coverage on the internet
Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government



Crowdfunding ....






























 navigate econintersect.com

Blogs

Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day
Weather

Newspapers

Asia / Pacific
Europe
Middle East / Africa
Americas
USA Government
     

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed
Google+
Facebook
Twitter
Digg

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution

Contact

About

  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved