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posted on 25 October 2016

October 24, 2016 Weather and Climate Report - La Nina / El Nino?

Written by Sig Silber

This report is in our usual weekly format and focuses on the next 30 days which should be again close to "Normal" but with a wetter than usual Northwest and a slower than usual west to east movement of weather systems. We should expect either a La Nina Winter or a Near La Nina Winter which means where it will be wet or dry and warm or cool is becoming fairly clear for CONUS and also for other parts of the World. Full details are provided below. But first, we start the report with the key finding of the San Francisco Fed study of the Impact of Weather on Jobs. 

 weather.caption

We reported on the October 20 NOAA Seasonal Outlook and compared their Outlook with that of JAMSTEC in a special Update that you can get to by clicking here. For most  readers that will not be necessary as the monthly and three-month maps are repeated in this weekly Weather and Climate Update.  

The following is from an article from the San Fransisco Fed linked in the News Section (near the end) of this Report. I do not have sufficient time to analyze and report fully this evening but here is the key paragraph.

The model yields several interesting findings. First, panel A suggests local employment growth increases with the average temperature within the month. This is true in all four seasons but especially in the spring. However, the initial employment boost from temperature is largely transitory: Negative effects of lagged temperature lead to roughly zero cumulative effects over a four-month period. The pattern of the boost from higher temperatures in the current month, followed by a payback of reduced employment growth in the next two or three months, is especially pronounced for the spring and summer. Second, panel B shows that precipitation and snowfall have clear negative contemporaneous effects. But precipitation’s effect is offset by higher growth in the next three months, while snowfall’s four-month cumulative effect remains negative. Third, the frequency of very hot days in a month, holding the average temperature fixed, has a negative contemporaneous and cumulative effect on employment growth; this may reflect that extreme heat increases business operating costs, such as air conditioning, and could significantly dampen employment growth if it persists over several months. The frequency of very cold days, on the other hand, does not generally have significant effects.

This should warm the hearts of Global Warming Non-Advocates. But less snow is good for employment (tell that to the ski resorts). I think this sort of analysis is a good start. We need more of it. But four months may be too short a time period for assessing impacts. I would suggest factoring in known weather cycles into the analysis i.e. ENSO. Some believe the Kondratiev commodity price cycle was a weather cycle and it's duration has a striking similarity to the period of the AMO and PDO. So there is lot of food for thought here.

La Nina / El Nino?

This refers not to the ONI Index or in the short term the Nino 3.4 Index (which becomes the ONI Index when you have three months of readings) which is clearly stuck between La Nina and Neutral. But CONUS Weather currently is not as La Nina-ish as one might expect and there are some El Nino-ish characteristics to our weather right now. There are a couple of key questions:

  1. Is the location of the Aleutian Low and it's strength more consistent with La Nina or El Nino?
  2. Is the entry point into CONUS of the Jet Stream more consistent with La Nina or El Nino?
  3. Why are so many analogs (see 6  - 14 Day Discussion) associated with prior El Nino's routinely showing up in the NOAA forecasts. That is not the case today but has been in recent weeks if not months.

There is no such thing as a perfectly normal ENSO Neutral, El Nino or La Nina winter. So it is not surprising that with a situation which is essentially Neutral right now but leaning strongly towards La Nina that our weather patterns would show characteristics that are confusing. It is an important issue because NOAA appears to have La Nina locked into their thinking and their models beyond 30 days. Sometimes assumptions can lead us astray. It is often better to simply observe what is happening rather than attempting to fit everything into a mold of what should be happening. So that is why I raise this issue.

A. Focus on Alaska and CONUS (all U.S. except Hawaii) - Let's Focus on the Current (Right Now to 5 Days Out) Weather Situation.

First, this graphic provides a good indication of where the moisture is. It is a bit different than just moisture imagery as it is quantitative.

 Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, Scripps/UCSD.

Image credit:Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, Scripps/UCSD.  More explanation can be found at Atmospheric Rivers (Click to read full Weather Underground Dr. Bob Henson article)

To turn the above into a forecasting tool click here and you will have a dashboard for a short-term forecasting model.

Notice that we have a strong storm approaching the Northwest and also Hurricane Seymour off of Mexico which may become a bigger factor than originally thought.

Here is a national animation of weather fronts 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 links provided below.

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.

U.S.  3 Day to  7 Day Forecasts

Below is a graphic which highlights the forecasted surface Highs and the Lows re air pressure on Day 3. The Day 6 forecast can be found here.

Day 3 Weather Forecast

The Aleutian Low It is now shown as a Split Low with the more significant part over by Kamchatka Siberia with a central pressure of 976 hPa and this is very La Nina-ish. The weaker part is in the Gulf of Alaska which is El Nino-ish and is also reasonably strong at 988 hPa. The average in the winter is 1001 hPa and 994 hPa for a non-split Low. This graphic changes every six hours.
The High Pressure off of California, the familiar RRR, is hardly there (1024 hPa) but more importantly out to sea. Thus, the RRR is not doing a good job of protecting the West Coast from Pacific storms and also providing northerly winds for California. Thus, there could be precipitation in California for a change! This is to some extent, more consistent with El Nino than La Nina. I provided this  K - 12 write up that provides a simple explanation on the importance of semipermanent Highs and Lows and another link that discussed possible changes in the patterns of these highs and lows which could be related to a Climate Shift (cycle) in the Pacific or Global Warming. Remember this is a forecast for Day 3. It is not the current situation but Day 3 is not very far out.

You can enlarge the below daily (days 3 - 7) weather maps for CONUS only by clicking on Three Day or  Four Day or Five Day or Day Six or Day Seven

Short term forecasts

Here is the seven day precipitation forecast. More information is available here.

Seven Day WPC Quantitative precipitation forecast

What you are seeing here is a projection for a very wet West Coast somewhat more north than overall but basically covering the entire West Coast. The Northeast Quadrant of CONUS is also expected to have precipitation.

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. 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. This week we do not see the 540 line thinking about entering CONUS. Remember that 540 relates to sea level. Inland from the Northwest you re above sea level so snow is likely.     

7 Day 500 MB Geopotential Forecast

Thinking about clockwise movements around High Pressure Systems and counter- clockwise movements around Low Pressure Systems provides a lot of information.
What you can see very clearly in the above is a deep trough forming off the West Coast and East Coast with a ridge in between. This evening, the East Coast trough is shown over the Great Lakes which is consistent with my observation that the zonal flow is like molasses. Slow, slow, slow.

The graphic below is the Eastern Pacific a 24 hr loop of recent readings. It does a good job of showing what is going on right now. The winds and moisture approaching the Northwest are of most interest.

Eastern Pacific

The graphic below (which is a bit redundant with the above) updates automatically so it most likely will look different by the time you look at it as the tropical weather patterns unlike the patterns north of 30N are generally moving from east to west. This graphic highlights tropical activity. Unlike the above which shows recent history, the below graphic is a satellite image with the forecast of tropical events superimposed on the satellite image. There is no significant "new" tropical activity that would appear to impact CONUS forecast for the beginning of this week. But we can track Seymour here. It is not likely to make a landing in CONUS but may enhance Pacific weather systems headed towards CONUS.

Eastern Pacific Tropical Storms

2017 Hurricane Seymoun

Below is the current water vapor Imagery for North America. 

 Water Vapor Imagery

Tonight, Monday evening October 24, 2016 (and this is the current situation not an animation of recent history), as I am looking at the above graphic, we see clouds mostly along the West Coast and Northern Tier. Water vapor imagery is a bit different than the above two graphics as it focuses on the water vapor in clouds rather than the clouds themselves.

Looking at the current activity of the Jet Stream.

One sees a split stream (which in and of itself leads to slower flow across CONUS. The entry point or points is at fairly low latitudes which is kind of an El Nino pattern rather than La Nina. But the subsequent turn to the north is definitely consistent with La Nina. There may be some Inactive Phase of the MJO involved here also.

Current Jet StreamBelow is the forecast out five days.

Now let's look at the situation on Day 5 below. You can see a very clear split stream as I am looking at the graphic right now. The Southern Branch is entering CONUS right over California but then moving north. That is why Arizona and New Mexico are not expected to participate very much in the West Coast precipitation. And it is why the Northeast is.

Jet Stream Five Days Out

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. The sub-Jetstream level intensity winds shown by the vectors in this graphic are very important in understanding the impacts north and south of the Jet Stream which is shown as the higher speed part of the wind circulation. In some cases however a Low-Pressure System becomes separated or "cut off" from the Jet Stream. In that case it's movements may be more difficult to predict until that disturbance is again recaptured by the Jet Stream. This usually is more significant for the lower half of CONUS i.e. further south than the Jet Stream.

Putting the Jet Stream into Motion and Looking Forward a Few Days Also

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.

When we discuss the jet stream and for other reasons, we often discuss different layers of the atmosphere. These are expressed in terms of the atmospheric pressure above that layer. It is kind of counter-intuitive to me. The below table may help the reader translate air pressure to the usual altitude and temperature one might expect at that level of air pressure. It is just an approximation but useful.

air pressure and altitude
Re the above, H8 is a frequently used abbreviation for the height of the 850 millibar level, H7 is the 700 mb level, H5 is the 500 mb level, H3 is the 300 mb level. So if you see those abbreviations in a weather forecast you will know what they are talking about.

More on the Jet Stream.

Last week, I provided a link and some information from that link on the Jet Stream. Here is another similar link which provides some of the same information but goes a lot further.than what I provided last week. Also this article goes into how the Jet Stream may be impacted by Global Warming which makes it very interesting. I do not have time to go into a full discussion this week but these two graphics tell a story.

Pre-Industrial Situation (please recognize these are cartoons i.e.. illustrating the situation not being meant to be precise which is evident by the absence of a scale on the vertical axis).

Pre Industrial Euator-Arctic Temperature Differential

Current Situation

Current Situation

The question then becomes what are the implications of a reduced Arctic/Equator temperature gradient which of course applies to the Southern Hemisphere also. The author of this article provides some thoughts on that and it is a topic that is widely discussed but too complicated for me to try to add my two cents this evening. But it is something one needs to think about. Hints are (A) impact on strength of the Jet Stream, (B) Degree of Meridional versus Zonal movement of the Jet Stream over continents, and (C) Latitudinal location of the peaks and valleys of Ridges and Troughs. Here is another more detailed article on this topic which is sometimes covered under the rubric of Arctic Amplification.
But it gets more complicated because a somewhat related impact is the steeper gradient from the surface to the cooling lower stratosphere, due to Global Warming, may create an opposite impact on the Jet Stream and the top of the Troposphere is much higher at the Equator than the poles so does that not come into play?

Click here to gain access to 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. This amazing graphic covers North and South America. It could be included in the Worldwide weather forecast section of this report but it is useful here re understanding the wind circulation patterns.

Four- Week Outlook

I am going to show the three-month NDJ Outlook (for reference purposes), the Early Outlook for the single month of November,  the 6 - 10 Day and 8 - 14 Day Maps and the Week 3 -  4 Experimental Outlook. 

First - Temperature

Here is the Three-Month NDJ Temperature Outlook issued on October 20, 2016:

NDJ Temperature Outlook Issued on October 20, 2016

Here is the Early Temperature Outlook for November which was issued on October 20, 2016

November Early Outlook Temperature Issued on October 20, 2016

 6 - 10 Day Temperature Outlook

6 - 10 Day Temperature Outlook

8 - 14 Day Temperature Outlook   

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

Looking further out.

Experimental Week 3-4 Temperature Outlook

As I view these maps on October 24 (two of the five update each day and one (the Week 3 - 4 Outlook) updates every Friday, it appears that through November 18, the pattern during the end of October and first week of November will be warm almost everywhere including Alaska and morph as we move into the November 5 to 18 period to warm with an EC West and EC Florida. "Warm" with respect to anomalies means warmer than usual for this time of year and "cool" with respect to anomalies means cooler than usual for this time of the year. The graphic shows the level of probability of being different from EC.

Now - Precipitation 

Here is the three-month NDJ Precipitation Outlook issued on September 15, 2016 :

NDJ 2016-2017 Precipitation Outlook Issued on October 20, 2016

And here is the Early Outlook for November Precipitation Issued on October 20, 2016

November 2016 Earlly Outlook  Precipitation Issued on October 20, 2016

6 - 10 Day Precipitation Outlook

6 - 10 Day Precipitation Outlook

8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook 

Current 8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook

Weeks 3 and 4 Experimental Forecast..

As I view these maps on October 24 (two of the five update each day and one (the Week 3 - 4 Outlook) updates every Friday, it looks like precipitation leading up to November 18 is tending for the end of October and first week of November to be a mostly wet Northwest two-thirds of CONUS with the remain Southeast third being dry and then morphing into a similar pattern but with anomalies much reduced in size. Alaska will start wet and gradually only be wet along the south shore and panhandle. When discussing anomalies, "wet" means wetter than usual for this time of the year and "dry" means drier than usual for this time of the year. The graphic shows the level of probability of being different from EC.

Here is the NOAA discussion released today October 24, 2016.

6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR OCT 30 - NOV 03, 2016  

TODAY'S MODEL SOLUTIONS ARE IN GOOD AGREEMENT ON THE 500-HPA FLOW PATTERN PREDICTED OVER THE FORECAST DOMAIN. A TROUGH IS PREDICTED BY ALL SOLUTIONS OFF THE WEST COAST OF THE CONUS. DOWNSTREAM OF THIS TROUGH, ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS ARE FORECAST OVER MUCH OF THE CENTRAL CONUS. THE ECMWF-BASED SOLUTIONS AND THE GFS ENSEMBLE MEANS FORECAST A TROUGH OVER THE NORTHEASTERN CONUS. ANOMALOUS SOUTHERLY MID-LEVEL FLOW IS PREDICTED FOR MUCH OF ALASKA AHEAD OF AN UPPER LOW FORECAST OVER THE BERING SEA AND AN ENHANCED JET IS FORECAST SOUTH OF THE ALEUTIANS. TODAY'S MANUAL 500-HPA HEIGHT BLEND IS LARGELY BASED ON TODAY'S ENSEMBLE MEANS ACCORDING TO RECENT MODEL SKILL. THE ENSEMBLE SPAGHETTI DIAGRAMS INDICATE LOW TO MODERATE SPREAD ACROSS THE MAJORITY OF THE FORECAST DOMAIN.   

THERE ARE ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR THE CENTRAL CONUS, MUCH OF THE EASTERN CONUS, AND PARTS OF THE NORTHWESTERN CONUS UNDERNEATH PREDICTED NEAR TO ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS. HOWEVER, NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED FOR THE NORTHEASTERN CONUS IN ASSOCIATION WITH A PREDICTED TROUGH. THERE ARE ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MUCH OF CALIFORNIA DUE TO A TROUGH PREDICTED OFF THE COAST AND THE POTENTIAL FOR INCREASED CLOUD COVER AND PRECIPITATION. ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED FOR MUCH OF ALASKA AHEAD OF AN UPPER LOW PREDICTED OVER THE BERING SEA AND CONSISTENT WITH ABOVE NORMAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES.

ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR THE WESTERN CONUS AHEAD OF A TROUGH PREDICTED OVER THE EASTERN PACIFIC. FORECAST RIDGING LEADS TO ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MUCH OF THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN PLAINS. BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS ALSO FAVORED FOR THE SOUTHEASTERN CONUS DUE TO PREDICTED SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE. CONVERSELY, ENHANCED PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ARE INDICATED FOR MUCH OF THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY AND THE GREAT LAKES REGION DUE TO THE POTENTIAL FOR SHORTWAVE TROUGHS TO AFFECT THESE REGIONS. ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS ALSO FAVORED FOR MUCH OF ALASKA EXCEPT PART OF THE NORTHEASTERN AHEAD OF AN UPPER LOW PREDICTED OVER THE BERING SEA.

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD: AVERAGE, 4 OUT OF 5, DUE TO GOOD ENSEMBLE MEAN AND TOOL AGREEMENT, AS WELL AS THE DETERMINISTIC GFS AND ECMWF SOLUTIONS.

8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR NOV 01 - 07 2016 

DURING WEEK-2, THE MEAN TROUGHS AND RIDGES IN THE 500-HPA HEIGHT PATTERN ARE VERY SIMILAR TO THOSE IN THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD. HOWEVER, DOWNSTREAM OF THE TROUGH, SPLIT FLOW IS FORECAST OVER NORTH AMERICA. A MEAN TROUGH IN THE SOUTHERN STREAM IS FORECAST NEAR THE SOUTHWEST CONUS AND ANOTHER MEAN TROUGH IN THE NORTHERN STREAM IS FORECAST OVER THE NORTHEAST. THE AMPLITUDE OF THE PATTERN IS WEAKER THAN THAT IN THE 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 THE CONUS IN ASSOCIATION WITH PREDICTED ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS. THERE ARE ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR ALASKA, DUE TO PREDICTED SOUTHERLY LOW LEVEL FLOW ACROSS MUCH OF THE STATE AND CONSISTENT WITH ABOVE NORMAL SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES IN ADJACENT WATERS.

ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR THE NORTHWESTERN CONUS DUE TO ANTICIPATED MOIST PACIFIC FLOW. BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR THE NORTHERN GREAT PLAINS DUE TO THE PREDICTED RIDGE. PREDICTED MEAN SURFACE HIGH PRESSURE LEADS TO ENHANCED PROBABILITIES FOR BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION OF THE EASTERN CONUS. THERE ARE ENHANCED PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MUCH OF THE CENTRAL CONUS DUE TO THE POTENTIAL FOR MOIST, SOUTHERLY FLOW AROUND THE MEAN SURFACE HIGH PREDICTED OVER THE EASTERN CONUS. ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR SOUTHERN ALASKA, AHEAD OF A MEAN UPPER LOW FORECAST OVER THE BERING SEA AND FOR THE PANHANDLE, AHEAD OF A TROUGH PREDICTED OVER THE GULF OF ALASKA. BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR THE INTERIOR BASIN IMPACTED BY PREDICTED RIDGE AND THE LOW LEVEL SOUTHEASTERLY FLOW.

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.

THE NEXT SET OF LONG-LEAD MONTHLY AND SEASONAL OUTLOOKS WILL BE RELEASED ON  NOVEMBER 17

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

Analogs to the Outlook.

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 regularly analyzing this second set of information. The first set which is what I am using today applies to the 5 and 7 day observed pattern prior to today. The second set, which I am not using, relates to the correlation of the forecasted outlook 6 - 10 days out with similar patterns that have occurred in the past during the dates covered by the 6 - 10 Day Outlook. The second set of analogs may also be useful information but they put the first set of analogs in the discussion with the second set available by a link so I am assuming that the first set of analogs is the most meaningful and I find it so.

Day

ENSO

Phase

PDO AMO

Other Comments

Oct 10, 1962 Neutral - +  
Oct 11, 1962 Neutral - +  
Oct 3, 1967 La Nina - -  
Oct 4, 1967 La Nina - -  
Oct 19, 1973 La Nina - -  
Oct 7, 1975 Neutral - -  
Oct 10, 1998 La Nina - +  
Oct 11, 1998 La Nina - +  
Oct 9, 2007 La Nina - +  
Oct 31, 2008 Neutral - +  

(t) = a month where the Ocean Cycle Index has just changed or does change the following month.

One thing that jumped out at me right away was the spread among the analogs from October 3 to October 31 which is 29  days which is a fairly large spread. I have not calculated the centroid of this distribution which would be the better way to look at things but the midpoint, which is a lot easier to calculate, is about October 18. These analogs are centered on 3 days and 4 days ago (October 20 or 21). So the analogs could be considered in sync with the calendar (or just a few days early) meaning that we will be getting weather that normally would occur this time of the year including that forecasted Western trough which is typical this time of the year.

I think NOAA would appreciate it if I said that these analogs are not a substitute for their very sophisticated forecasting software and I am not suggesting that they are. I present them partially for curiosity purposes but also to see how current conditions correlate with medium and low frequency cycles. The medium frequency cycle I track is ENSO and the two low- frequency cycles I track are the PDO and AMO. When I see that forecasts are consistent with the current phases of these cycles (as represented by the analogs), that seems very suggestive to me that our weather is probably fairly easy to forecast. If the analogs are all over the place then I have to wonder if the forecasts are good or if our weather is just not related to these cycles. That certainly can be the case. So I am doing some research here and you are seeing how I look at things. I hope you find it interesting.

There are this time zero El Nino Analogs (finally), six La Nina Analogs, and four ENSO Neutral Analogs. The phases of the ocean cycles in the analogs point towards McCabe Conditions "B" and "D". They are opposites and that may explain some aspects of the 6 - 14 Day Outlook. . 

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. One of the major reasons that I write this weather and climate column is to encourage a more long-term and World view of weather.

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.

Recent CONUS Weather

This is provided mainly to see the pattern in the weather that has occurred in recent months. Because it is now the second half of October, I have now removed the July and August Graphics.

Here is the 30 Days ending October 15, 2016

October 15, 2016 30 Day temperature and precipitation departures.

The Precipitation and Temperature departures are almost identical to the prior 30 Day Graphic not sown. We should keep in mind that this represents the addition of only seven recent days and the removal of seven more distant days but still the lack of change is amazing. One change I see is to the Northwest.

And the 30 Days ending October 22, 2016

October 22, 2016 30 Day temperature and precipitation departures.

Re precipitation, it is the same pattern but more intense.  Re temperature the pattern also is remarkably unchanged. Remember this is a 30 day average with seven recent days added and seven days more than 30 days ago removed so the change is slow.

NOAA issued their Seasonal Outlook on October 20 and we reported on that in a special update that you can get to by clicking here. If you opt to go read my Report on NOAA's Seasonal Outlook Update, please return from there to read the rest of this report which you can do by simply hitting your "backspace" button on your keyboard.

B. Beyond Alaska and CONUS Let's Look at the World which of Course also includes Alaska and CONUS

Near Term

World Weather Forecast produced by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Unfortunately I do not know how to extract the control panel and embed it into my report so that you could use the tool within my report. But if you visit it Click Here you will be able to use the tool to view temperature or many other things for THE WORLD. It can forecast out for a week. Pretty cool. Return to this report by hitting your "backspace" key which may require hitting it a few times depending on how deep you are into the BOM tool.

Although I can not display the interactive control panel in my article, I can display any of the graphics it provides so below are the current worldwide precipitation and temperature forecasts for three days out. They will auto-update and be current for Day 3 whenever you view them. If you want the forecast for a different day Click Here

Precipitation

BOM World Preciptation  Wednesday

Temperature

BOM Current Temperature Wedensday

Looking Out a Few Months

This is the precipitation forecast from Queensland Australia.

Queensland Oct - Dec  Preipitation Forecast.

It is kind of amazing that you can make a worldwide forecast based on just one parameter the SOI and changes in the SOI. Notice that the rising SOI triggers a lot of wet around the World. Look for low grain prices.

JAMSTEC issued their Precipitation Forecast recently based on the October 1, 2016 ENSO analysis. Notice this forecast is for December 2016 through February 2017.

JAMSTEC DJF  2016/2017 Precipitation Forecast from October 1, 2016 ENSO Model Run

It is pretty interesting especially for Southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Southern Africa especially to the west, South America, and a standard but muted La Nina Pattern for CONUS extending into British Columbia. 

Here I just focused on Europe and CONUS

JAMSTEC Oct 1, 3016 DJF Focus on Europe and CONUS

Kind of Dry! For the most part. Remember this is December 2016 through February 2017

Here is the temperature forecast

JAMSTEC DJF Temperature Forecast based on October 1, 2016 Model Runs.

Northern Europe will be cool as well as parts of Northern Australia and Brazil and Kamchatka which could be important. Other than that, Global Warming Deniers might have to seek higher elevations.

There is a discussion that goes with it and that discussion was released today:. .

Oct. 17, 2016

Prediction from 1st Oct., 2016

ENSO forecast:

According to the SINTEX-F prediction, the current weak La Niña Modoki will start decaying and the tropical Pacific will return to a normal state by boreal spring. The model prediction appears to be consistent so far with the observed evolution of the sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies.

Indian Ocean forecast:

The negative Indian Ocean Dipole will start decaying and disappear in boreal winter. A positive Indian Ocean Dipole may evolve in early summer of 2017. However, it is still uncertain at the present stage.

Regional forecast:

In boreal winter, as a seasonally averaged view, most part of the globe will experience a warmer-than-normal condition, while some parts of Brazil, northern Europe, and northern Australia will experience a colder-than-normal condition.

According to the seasonally averaged rainfall prediction, eastern China, Indo-China, East Africa, most parts of Europe, U.S. and the Far East (including Japan) might experience a drier condition during boreal fall, while most parts of Brazil, southern West Africa, western Central Africa, and South Africa will experience a wetter-than-normal condition. Australia will receive above normal rainfall during austral summer. Most parts of Japan will experience above normal temperature and below normal precipitation (less snowfall) in winter. Those may be associated with a warm Indian Ocean and a weak La Niña Modoki in the Pacific.

Additional forecasts from JAMSTEC including future time periods can be found at this link.

Sea Surface Temperature (SST) Departures from Normal for this Time of the Year i.e. Anomalies

My focus here is sea surface temperature anomalies as they are one of the two largest factors determining weather around the World.

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

Daily SST Anomaly

Remember this discussion is all about anomalies not absolute temperatures...so it is deviation from seasonal norms.
The waters off of Japan remain warm to the west but cool to the east. South of Kamchatka Siberia, the water is cool. The Central Indian Ocean is now basically neutral or cool. The southern coast of Australia is very cool but the Southeast Coast is warm. Water north and west of Australia is warm. The waters south of Africa are warm to the west but a bit cool to the east.
The overall Northern Pacific no longer looks to be PDO Positive (the horseshoe pattern with the cool anomaly inside the horseshoe shape there) mostly because of the lack of warm water east of the cool water. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) Index rose to 2.4 in March which with El Nino fading may be significant. It was up to 2.62 in April but eased to 2.35 in May and then to +0.78 in June and then down to +0.18 for July and then recorded a negative value of -.66 for August and the July value was adjusted to +0.11. That would make the PDO now NEGATIVE. September was initially estimated at -1.06 WOW and August was adjusted to -0.87. and July to +0.12 and June to +0.76. The question remains about the PDO. Is it acting independently of the El Nino or is this the change from PDO- to PDO+ (until August) which would signal a multi-decadal change in the Pacific. I anticipated that the PDO would turn negative as the La Nina gained control and it has. But is that just temporary.  Here is the list of PDO values. The waters west of CONUS are now neutral. This is not a good sign for a wet winter for mid latitudes. Further north, the Gulf of Alaska is quite warm with the Bering Straits even warmer. The Pacific being warm north of 60N remains an impressive feature of the overall pattern and suggests a wet Northwest and northern tier for CONUS this winter. But this warm anomaly seems to be moderating. To repeat, the water off of Baja California is no longer warm and that is why cyclones moving up the west coast have dissipated rapidly. But the water in the Gulf of California and further south is warm west of Mexico.
The Black sea, the Caspian sea and the Mediterranean are close to neutral except for the western Mediterranean which is quite warm.
The water directly west of South America is not showing much of a strong La Nina pattern even though NOAA is not noticing that much. There is a narrow cool anomaly in the Pacific right along the Equator in the La Nina Measurement Area. Recently it has appeared to be more robust though still gradually stretching west where it has crossed the Dateline. It is perhaps a La Nina pattern but too weak yet to qualify as an official La Nina and probably will remain borderline La Nina through the winter. It may ultimately turn out to be a La Nina Modoki i.e. shifted to the west more than the typical La Nina. The water off the West Coast of Central America is now only slightly warm.
The water off the East Coast of CONUS is warm but less so than recently especially in terms of the eastern extension of this warm anomaly. The Western Gulf of Mexico is warm. Further north in the Atlantic east of Newfoundland the North Atlantic is warmer than normal. The cool anomaly south of Newfoundland again shows and seem to be enlarging. There is a a very small and weak warm anomaly off shore of Northwest Africa. The waters north of Antarctica East of South America are uniformly colder than climatology and we again see the small warm anomaly north of that pattern but this pattern is not as strong as recently. .
I have some additional commentary on this static analysis of the anomalies below where I examine the four-week change in these anomalies. The list of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) values can be found here.
Since these are "departures" or "anomalies", it is not a seasonal pattern that is being shown it is the changes from what we would expect on a seasonal basis. It is important to understand that and interpret my comments above in the context of anomalies not absolute temperatures.

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

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 to my draft report, compare and comment on the change and then delete the old one to keep this report to a manageable size. Also it is important to recognize that what you see in this graphic is the change in the anomaly. So blue means either cooler or less warm. Red means warmer or less cool. So you have to refer to the graphic above this one to really interpret this graphic as what we are seeing here is the change in the anomalies. What we see in this graphic is four weeks of change not the current absolute anomalies which are shown in the above graphic. It is not derivatives in the mathematical sense but deltas. They are somewhat similar. The graphic above this one has no time component. It is simply the deviation from climatology and this graphic below shows the four week change in the deviation from climatology. So it is a bit like the first (graphic above) and second (graphic below) derivatives but not exactly. I take it a step further by comparing this week's version of the graphic to the prior week and report on the differences below.  

October 24, 2016 four week change in SST Departures

What I see as I look at both last week's version of this graphic and the current one (before deleting the prior version) is this week a strengthening overall along the Equatorial Pacific increasing credence to there being a La Nina or near La Nina developing. There is also cooling for the Maritime Continent. Other features are less cooling southeast of Australia, increased cooling off the east coast of North America and stabilization of the West coast of South America. The Gulf of Alaska is cooling. There seems to be a continued shift from west to east at that latitude re the rate of cooling with it being more rapid in the Eastern Pacific.The warming below the cooling in the Western North Pacific is much less intense. Remember we are talking about changes in the anomalies something like a second derivative so you have to refer to the graphic above this one to know if blue is cool or less warm and if red is warm or less cool.  

Look at the Western Pacific in Motion.`

Western Pacific Tropical Activity

The above graphic which I believe covers the area from the Dateline west to 100E and from the Equator north to 45N `normally shows the movement of tropical storms towards Asia in the lower latitudes (Trade Winds) and the return of storms towards CONUS in the mid-latitudes (Prevailing Westerlies). This is recent data in motion (last 24 hours) not a forecast. But it provides a pretty good idea of what is heading towards Southeast Asia and the Maritime Continent. It also shows what is headed back towards CONUS. Information on Western Pacific storms can be found here. This is an unofficial private source but one that is easy to read.

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 October 18, 2016 Version and looking at Week 2 of that forecast.
Tropical Hazards

Mostly for the period October 26, 2016 to November 1, 2016, I see in week two that it will be likely wet for part of the Maritime Continent and the Leeward Antilles with a risk of dry conditions in Southern India and that is about it. The prior week which will already have occurred by the time you read this report is more storm potential especially for the Windward Antilles and Southeast China (Haima). Seymore kind fits in an area identified as having the potential to spawn storms but the more northerly track was not anticipated. In the Tropics the normal progression is East to West.

C. Progress of the Cool ENSO Event

A major driver of weather is Surface Ocean Temperatures. Evaporation only occurs from the Surface of Water. So we are very interested in the temperatures of water especially when these temperatures deviate from seasonal norms thus creating an anomaly. The geographical distribution of the anomalies is very important.
To a substantial extent, the temperature anomalies along the Equator have disproportionate impact on weather so we study them intensely and that is what the ENSO (El Nino - Southern Oscillation) cycle is all about
Subsurface water can be thought of as the future surface temperatures. They may have only indirect impacts on current weather but they have major impacts on future weather by changing the temperature of the water surface.
Winds and Convection (evaporation forming clouds) is weather and is a result of the Phases of ENSO and also a feedback loop that perpetuates the current Phase of ENSO or changes it. That is why we monitor winds and convection along or near the Equator especially the Equator in the Eastern Pacific. 

Starting with Surface Conditions.

TAO/TRITON GRAPHIC (a good way of viewing data related to the part of the Equator and the waters close to the Equator in the Eastern Pacific  where we monitor to determining the current phase of ENSO. It is probably not necessary to follow the discussion below, but here is a link to TAO/TRITON terminology.

I have deleted many of the TAO/TRITON graphics we looked at when we were watching El Nino develop and decline. But I saved this one which was close to the maximum. It was not the maximum but it was the one that I froze which was the closest to the maximum that I saved. It is useful for comparing the current situation with the pattern that prevailed near the peak of the El Nino this past winter. Since most of my graphics auto-update,  in order to be able to view a prior version of a particular graphic, I "freeze it" by basically cut and paste to a graphics file and then embed that "frozen graphic" in my article.

January 19, 2016 Frozen TAU/TRITON Graphic

And here is the current version of the TAO/TRITON Graphic.

The above should be compared to the bottom part of the following graphic. Notice the pattern is remarkably similar. The difference is that in January, the anomaly was a warm anomaly stretching from 130W to 160W and now it is a cool anomaly. When it was a warm anomaly, it was a 3C anomaly in the center ring. Now the center ring is a -0.5C anomaly. So this is opposite to last winter but the intensity is a third or less of the situation last winter.

Current SST and wind anomalies

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

 

Notice how the cool anomaly currently appears to be being squeezed at about 155W. Is it being split into two pieces?

The below table which only looks at the Equator shows the extent of anomalies along the Equator. I had split the table to show warm, neutral, and cool anomalies. The top rows showed El Nino anomalies. When there were no more El Nino anomalies along the Equator, I eliminated those rows. The two rows just below that break point contribute to ENSO Neutral and after another break, the rows are associated with La Nina conditions. I have changed the reference date to May 23, 1016.

Comparing Now to May 23, 2016

Subareas of the Anomaly

Westward Extension Eastward Extension Degrees of Coverage

As of Today

May 23, 2016

As of Today

May 23 2016

As of Today

In Nino 3.4

May 23, 2016

These Rows Show the Extent of ENSO Neutral Impacts on the Equator
0.5C or cooler Anomaly*

160E

155E

Land

155W

105

50

50
0C or cooler Anomaly

180

155W

LAND

Land

85

50

60
These Rows Show the Extent of the La Nina Impacts on the Equator
-0.5C or cooler

170W

145W

LAND

Land

75

50

50
-1C or cooler Anomaly

LAND

140W

LAND

105W 0 0 35
-1.5C or cooler Anomaly

LAND

135W

LAND

120W

0

0

0

 

If you just look on the Equator, there are 50 degrees of Longitude of Neutral to La Nina anomalies which is the maximum possible as the ONI Measurement Area is 50 degrees of Longitude wide and that also is the maximum possible since the ENSO Measurement Area only stretches for 50 degrees. There are 50 degrees of water anomalies cool enough to be a La Nina. Subtracting 50 degrees from the 50 degrees you end up with 0 degrees of ENSO Neutral and 50 degrees of water cool enough to qualify as La Nina i.e. temperature anomalies more negative than -0.5C. There today zero degrees of water along the Equator in the ONI Measurement that is even -1C or less which would be cool enough to be a moderate La Nina when just looking at the Equator and there are of course zero degrees of -1.5C water. The ONI Measurement Area extends 5 degrees of Latitude North and South of the Equator so the above table is just a guide and a way of tracking the changes. Away from the Equator it is generally warmer when a La Nina is trying to get started. The water from 3N to 5N and from 3S to 5S had until recently remained relatively warm especially west of 150W. But now the cool anomaly is fairly well distributed within the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area but the cooler water below is not reaching the surface rapidly and is slowly dissipating.

I calculate the current value of the ONI index (really the value of NINO 3.4 as the ONI is not reported as a daily value) each week using a method that I have devised. To refine my calculation, I have divided the 170W to 120W Nino 3.4 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 October 24, in the afternoon working from the October 23 TAO/TRITON report, this is what I calculated. [Although the TAO/TRITON Graphic appears to update once a day, in reality it updates more frequently.]

Calculation of ONI from TAO/TRITON Graphic
Anomaly Segment Estimated Anomaly
  Last Week This Week
A. 170W to 160W -0.6 -0.3
B. 160W to 150W -0.4 -0.2
C. 150W to 140W -0.4 -0.3
D. 140W to 130W -0.6 -0.3
E. 130W to 120W -0.7 -0.4
Total -2.7 -1.5
Total divided by five subregions i.e. the ONI (-2.7)5 = -0.5 (-1.5)5 = -0.3

 

My estimate of the daily Nino 3.4 SST anomaly has increased significantly to -0.3 which is no longer a La Nina value but Neutral.  NOAA has again reported the weekly ONI to be -0.6 which is a La Nina value.  POAMA seems to be reporting about an -0.4 for the month.  The NOAA estimate appears to be simply incorrect. The polite explanation is that they have made a week estimate whereas my estimate is an estimate for one day. The impolite explanation is that either their technology is deficient or the technology of everyone else is deficient as they are odd man out on their reports of Nino 3.4 readings.
Nino 4.0 is reported as being slightly warmer than last week at -0.2.  Nino 3 is being reported quite a bit cooler at -0.6.   Nino 1 + 2 which extends from the Equator south rather than being centered on the Equator is for the first time being reported as a cool number i.e. -0.2 
I am only showing the currently issued version of the NINO SST Index Table as the prior values are shown in the small graphics on the right with this graphic. The same data in table form but going back a couple of more years can be found here. 

October 24, 2016 Nino Readings

From Tropical Tidbits.com

CDAS Legacy System

This is from a legacy "frozen" NOAA system meaning it is maintained but not updated. It seems to show a cycle in the Nino 3.4 Index Values. I see that as I monitor the TAO/TRITON graphic. My best guess is that it is related to the MJO but it certainly is intriguing. This is a NOAA system but it clear provides a different estimate than offered up by NOAA this morning.

Sea Surface Temperature and Anomalies

It is the ocean surface that interacts with the atmosphere and causes convection and also the warming and cooling of the atmosphere. So we are interested in the actual ocean surface temperatures and the departure from seasonal normal temperatures which is called "departures" or "anomalies". Since warm water facilitates evaporation which results in cloud convection, the pattern of SST anomalies suggests how the weather pattern east of the anomalies will be different than normal.

Oct 24, 2016 Equatorial Pacific SST Anomalies

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. This Hovmoeller provides a good way to visually see the evolution of this ENSO event.  I have decided to use the prettied-up version that comes out on Mondays rather that the version that autoupdates daily because the SST Departures on the Equator do not change rapidly and the prettied-up version is so much easier to read. You can see that the blue cool anomaly has again moved further west and the dark blue which was not showing last week (look up a tad) is now again showing at the bottom which means the current reading. You can see that the yellow ENSO Neutral water in the Eastern Pacific which had been replaced by blue is again mostly yellow and that is important. You can also see that on this graphic the blue area, at about 160W is no longer dark blue. You can also see patches of white which are indicative of warmer than -0.5C i.e. ENSO Neutral. You can see the steady westward shift in that anomaly but so far it has not shifted out of the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area. This graphic explains to a large extent the week to week changes in the Nino 3.4 Index Reading and suggests that the NOAA weekly estimate of the Nino 3.4 temperature calculated this week was too cool. Remember the +5, -5 degree strip around the Equator that is being measured. So it is the surface but not just the Equator.

In recent weeks I have thought it would be useful to show a view which is more focused on the Equator but looks down to 300 meters rather than just being the surface. There was almost no change from last week so I omitted that graphic this week.

Let us further look at the Subsurface Water Temperatures.

Equatorial Subsurface Analysis

We are now going to change the way we look at a three-dimensional view of the Equator and move from the surface view and an average of the subsurface heat content to a more detailed view from the surface down.

Current Sub-Surface Conditions.  Notice by the date of the graphic that the lag in getting this information posted so the current situation may be a bit different than shown. The date shown is the midpoint of a five-day period with that date as the center of the five-day period.

And now the pair of graphics that I regularly provide.

Subsurface Heat Anomalies

The above pair of graphics 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. At different times and today in particular, I have discussed the difference between the actual values and the deviation of the actual values from what is defined as current climatology (which adjusts every ten years) and how both measures are useful but for different purposes.

The top graphic shows surface temperature anomalies. The coolest water at the surface shows up only in small non-connected areas.  Water of La Nina coolness but not very intense shows up along the Equator from 170W to the Coast of Ecuador. The -1C water shows most strongly between 175W and 155W. There is a gap between 155W and 120W (the eastern end of the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area). The gap, if valid, suggests the possibility that this will evolve into a cool Modoki pattern. The eastern part of the cool water pool is increasingly unimpressive with actually some showings of warm water. Notice that there is very little water with a cool anomaly in excess of -2C. How is this cool event to be sustained?
Notice the warm water at depth west of 165E.

The bottom half of the graphic (Absolute Values which highlights the Thermocline) is now more useful as we track the progress of this new Cool Event.

It shows the thermocline between warm and cool water. The 28C Isotherm is again located close to the Dateline. This graphic does not show a 27.5C anomaly which might more precisely indicate where convection is likely to occur. The 27C isotherm has shifted west a bit to 175W so we do not have ideal conditions for significant convection along the Equator east of the Dateline which is a characteristic of a cool event. Notice the steepness of the 28C, 27C and 26C Isotherms. This is a real boundary between warmer water and cooler water. The 25C isotherm is again at 140W which is similar to last week. The 20C Isotherm has moved close to the surface but is not reaching the surface and has not changed in weeks. The amount of warm water just west of the Dateline is also not real impressive either but growing but staying fairly far east. It is clearly a transition state and all of this is important not just for tracking this cool event but thinking about when the next El Nino might be triggered. This graphic helps understand the logic behind some of the forecasts of the ONI. So it is still a battle going on with La Nina nudging ahead but not looking like it can sustain itself.
It is why the models are having a hard time figuring out if this it a real deal La Nina or simply a cool event that comes close to being a La Nina..

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

Although I did not fully discuss the Kelvin Waves earlier, now seems to be the best place to show the evolution of the subsurface temperatures which remains relevant. What we have is only the upwelling phase of the series of Kelvin waves last winter.

October 24,  2016 Subsurface Temperatures.

There is cool water from 170W to the coast of Ecuador. But the coolest water, however, is only reaching the surface from 172W to 155W which is about the same as last week. What remains surprising is the failure of the cooler water east of 150W to rise to the surface but it has done so a bit this week. And of course it is complicated by the fact that is what is shown here is temperature anomalies not absolute temperatures but still this cool event refuses to record as a clear cut La Nina but just hovers at the threshold. Possibly of interest is that at about 120W it appears that the cool anomaly may separate into two cool pools. That probably tells us something about the currents.  .

And now Let us look at the Atmosphere.

Low-Level Wind Anomalies near the Equator

Here are the low-level wind anomalies.

Low Level Wlind Anomalies

The Easterlies (the blue) are suddenly again no longer there in the Eastern Pacific probably because of MJO action.

And now the Outgoing Longwave Radiation Anomalies which tells us where convection has been taking place. 

OLR Anomalies Along the Equator

In the above graphic, there is now almost no convection along the Equator and the small area is a bit less intense.

And Now the Air Pressure which Shows up Mostly in an Index called the SOI.

This index provides an easy way to assess the location of and the relative strength of the Convection (Low Pressure) and the Subsidence (High Pressure) near the Equator. Experience shows that a comparison between Air Pressure at Tahiti and Darwin Australia is substantially correlated with the Precipitation Pattern of the entire World.. 

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
Oct 18   +4.19 +5.60 +7.47
Oct 19   -4.77 +5.02 +7.25
Oct 20   -3.87 +4.37 +7.08
Oct 21  +4.25 +4.17 +6.92
Oct 22   -1.61 +3.87 +6.68
Oct 23 -10.32 +3.29 +6.35
Oct 24   -5.61 +2.82 +6.15

The 30-day average, which is the most widely used measure, as of October 24 is reported at +2.82 which is again a tremendous decline from last week and is no longer a La Nina value and for those who believe the trend is what counts, this is clearly not a sign of La Nina conditions currently being in place. The 90-day average at +6.15 is lower than last week but still at a La Nina level. The values two weeks ago seem to be possibly the high water marks for the SOI re this cycle or at least this phase of the cycle. 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 disparity between the two is one reason why we look at both. To some extent it is the change in the SOI that is of most importance. It had been increasing but may now be stabilizing or going down. That could change but for now the SOI is not signaling a La Nina.

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. October so far has not been particularly favorable for La Nina development and most likely neither will be November in terms of the MJO. The forecasts of the MJO are all over the place and not suggesting a strong Active or Inactive Phase of the MJO any time soon.The MJO being Inactive is more favorable for La Nina than the MJO being Active. But the MJO goes back and forth from being Active, Inactive, strong and weak so in has mostly a short-term impact. Right now the impact is fairly muted. It tends to be more important when the situation is ENSO Neutral and the MJO can start the process of an El Nino getting started. It is less significant re the initiation of a La Nina but is a factor. It is surprising how weak the MJO has been for months.But it may account for what seems like a cycling of the estimate of Nino 3.4 as the cool water is blown first to the west and then to the east. This impacts the upwelling also.

Forecasting the Evolution of ENSO

The below is the Early October CPC/IRI which is more tied to meteorologists reading of tea leaves followed by the later in the month fully Model-Based Forecast issued this week. It is not a big difference (presumably the meteorologists consult their models in addition to reading tea leaves) but it is a difference and a huge one this month. I assume they do it this way as to avoid forcing meteorologists to have to run their computers twice a month (some sarcasm expressed there).

So first we have the previously released early-month reading of the tea leaves.:

October 13, 2016 IRI/CPC Model based ENSO forecast.

This is a lot more bullish on La Nina happening than the prior late September report. There are two issues with this analysis. First of all the meteorological agencies in other nations do not see it this way and the second issue is duration. The above analysis only show that La Nina conditions are favored through DJF. I also expect that the next edition of this analysis will look very different.

And now the recently updated Model-Based version which indeed is very different than the analysis issued just a week earlier.

October 20, 2016 Model Based ENSO Forecast

The reliability of the work of IRI/CPC comes into question when there is such flucuation over short periods of time. How can one week make such a big difference? I am sure that Columbia University enjoys the funding but really? I suspect the NOAA Seasonal Outlook Issued on October 20 did not reflect the forecast shown here which is roughly a toss up through January for La Nina or Neutral and then clearly Neutral being heavily favored by the computer models as the Australian BOM and Japanese JAMSTEC have figured out for some time.

We have suggested that it is possible that some of the models and in particular NOAA's model will be wrong about how fast the Eastern Pacific Warm Pool moves back towards its La Nina location and it may well be that this winter will be more of an ENSO Neutral year with respect to Winter and then Spring or even have some characteristics of an El Nino Modoki (which mostly makes a difference for the East Coast of Asia. It could be less dry than forecast for CONUS as the Warm Pool may still be more in the Central Pacific than shifted all the way west to its strong La Nina position.

 CFS.V2 SST Forecast

The mean of the NOAA model was until a few months ago was forecasting a fairly strong La Nina for this winter. The model gradually shifted to a weak La Nina Forecast and now to a marginal La Nina Forecast. Is the Mean of the forecast ensemble for the key periods NDJ and DJF below -0.5? It seems so. But for the Spring, the mean of the model ensemble for the ONI in the NOAA model has turned higher (less La Nina-ish actually on the El Nino side of Neutral) and trending even higher for the following summer as you can see.  I doubt that this cool event will be recorded as a La Nina since it most likely will not meet the criteria for being classified as a La Nina especially duration. But I am not sure of that  It is forecasted to be close enough to a La Nina that whether it officially is logged in as a La Nina or Neutral, probably has very little impact on the weather we will have. It is a cool event pattern but not at all extreme.

The full list of weekly values can be found here.

Forecasts from Other Meteorological Agencies.

Here is the Nino 3.4 report from the Australian BOM

Australia POAMA ENSO model run

Discussion

ENSO outlooks

Outlooks from the eight international climate models surveyed by the Bureau continue to indicate that neutral ENSO conditions are the most likely outcome for the southern hemisphere spring–summer period. However, two models indicate the likelihood of a brief, late-starting La Niña over the summer.

If La Niña does form, models suggest it will be weak, potentially short-lived, and well below the strength of the significant 2010–12 event.

We also now have the most recent JAMSTEC October 1 ENSO forecast.

JAMSTEC October 1, 2016 Two Year Enso Forecast

The model continues to show ENSO Neutral for the next two years.

Indian Ocean IOD

Not directly related to ENSO is the IOD Forecast:

IOD POAMA Model Run

Discussion

Indian Ocean Dipole outlooks

The negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event continues. Index values remain well below their peak earlier in winter, although have increased in strength over the past fortnight. The weekly index value to 23 October was −0.56 °C.

International climate models indicate the negative IOD will steadily weaken during spring, as is typical of the lifecycle of IOD events. The influence of the IOD on Australian climate is weak during the months December to May as the monsoon trough shifts south over the tropical Indian Ocean.

A negative IOD typically brings above average rainfall to eastern Australia during spring, cooler than normal daytime temperatures to southern Australia, and warmer daytime and night-time temperatures to northern Australia.

Information on the impact of a negative IOD on Australia can be found here.

D. Putting it all Together.

Last winter's El Nino has officially ended in terms of currently satisfying the criteria. We are now speculating on how the winter of 2016/2017 will evolve. According to some of the models, it seems likely to have La Nina conditions or even be declared to have been a full La Nina.  But Australia and Japan do not see it that way and are not calling for a La Nina at this point in time. So NOAA is a bit the Odd Man Out but it is mostly a question of degree and in the end NOAA may turn out to have been correct.  NOAA is calling for a borderline La Nina and the others are forecasting a La Nina-ish event that does not quite meet the criteria for being labeled a La Nina and does not last long enough to meet the criteria.

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.

The odds of a climate shift for CONUS taking place has significantly increased. It may be in progress. It looks like it will require one more La Nina or ENSO Neutral event and this appears to be the way this might unfold. The AMO is pretty much neutral at this point (but more positive i.e. warm than I expected) so it may need to become a bit more negative for the McCabe A pattern to become established. That seems to be slow to happen so I am thinking we need at least a couple more years for that to happen.

E. Relevant Recent Articles and Reports

Weather in the News

Typhoon Haima impacts Philippines and Hong Kong

Hurricane Seymour Gains Steam in Eastern Pacific

Weather Research in the News

San Francisco Feds finds that weather impacts jobs.

Global Warming in the News

Reported two weeks ago and I am repeating the below because it is very important I have still not had the time to fully digest and analyze this very important report. .

Southwest Mega-drought Risk - Needs to be read carefully. An important issue is the validity of RCP 8.5 as a benchmark. Here is a good article on that. It has page after page of comments so here may be a shorter version with somewhat fewer comments.

I need to really thoroughly review this very important article and that will take some time. But here are some initial thoughts.

I did want to mention that under the McCabe et al analysis, one of the four combinations of ocean phases was a drought phase so that suggested that for approximately 25% of the time the chances of drought were very good. Thus one would have expected a significant drought once a century. So that is not new information.

McCabe et al also calculated a change in the situation due to Warming. That is not new information either.

So although this new analysis is more recent than the older analysis which was just after the PDO and AMO were figured out, to me it is not very different. The main difference is this paper has scenarios for the future. One probably could have developed them from the McCabe et al analysis. And they are talking about 35 year droughts which is not all that different from the droughts we have had once per century. My quick reading of the article did not come across the mention of El Nino. Are they in the analysis? I need to read more.

The authors make things simple with basically 2C, 4C, and 6C scenarios. How the 2C is defined is important. Apparently it is mean warming from 2051 to 2100  compared to 1951 to 2000. I like to use simple approaches so my mind I will think about it as 2075 compared to 1975. There are other papers that use a different way of measuring 2C (and 4C and 6C). Some go back to 1750 or the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Well if 1975 is the base even if the growth rate is steeper then linear there is still some room to get to 2C. We are about 40 years into the 100 year period used by the authors.

More when I have had a chance to really study this important paper.

The below is the key graphic:

Ault et al impact of Global Warming on Southwet MegaDroughts.

F. Table of Contents for Page II of this Report Which Provides a lot of Background Information on Weather and Climate Science  

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.

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.

4. Computer Models and Methodologies

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

G. Table of Contents of Contents for Page 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.

1. Introduction

2. Climate Impacts of Global Warming

3. Economic Impacts of Global Warming

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

Useful Background Information

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          

 

ONI Recent History

ONI History Updated on October 10, 2016

The official reading for Jul/Aug/Sept is now reported as -0.5.The JAS reading is the first La Nina Value. So there would now need for there to be four more periods of -0.5 or colder for this to be eligible to be formally recorded as a La Nina. It is possible but  it will be close. I doubt that it will happen.

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

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

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