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posted on 31 January 2017

January 30, 2017 Weather and Climate Report - Groundhog, ESPI and MJO

Written by Sig Silber

The Near-La Nina is dead (RIP) but NOAA has not yet received authorization to bury it. Nevertheless we should now anticipate more robust MJO activity. In this week's Report, in addition to the regular information that we provide, we also discuss the ESPI Index which is another way ENSO Events can be measured. It is a very interesting approach. For CONUS, only  the Southwest will be dry and only the Northeast will be cool. Winter is over - There is no need to go to Punxsutawney, Pa. Winter ended last week.

 weather.caption

AG (Artificial Groundhog)

January 30, 2017 Atmospheric Anomalies

Groundhog probably will not see his shadow on Thursday and will be correct. The transition to Spring has already occurred. That does not mean that one should not go and have a great time in Jefferson County Pa and spend a lot of money  The name of the main town to spend money is an Indian Name. It is the same tribe as used to own Atlantic City where I grew up. The fate of the tribe is not well knows but they were part of a larger group of Native Americans and there is a river and a state named after them so I guess they got some recognition. Part of Eastern New Mexico has that same name at least the underground does and I have no idea how that happened.  Official logo of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania

Now some housekeeping information. For those who want the forecasts beyond three months, we recently reported on the January 19 NOAA 15-Month Forecast and compared the first nine months of the NOAA Outlook with that of JAMSTEC in a special Update that you can get to by clicking here. Remember if you leave this page to visit links provided in this article, you can return by hitting your "Back Arrow", usually top left corner of your screen just to the left of the URL box. We will of course publish a new 15 Month Update Report shortly after NOAA issues their update on February 16, 2017.

ESPI

It has been suggested that I might understand why what appears to be ENSO Neutral is really a La Nina if I only understood the ESPI Index.

So let's give it a go. The original paper by the developers of the Index was: "ENSO Indices Based on Patterns of Satellite-Derived Precipitation" (Click here to read the full article); SCOTT CURTIS: Laboratory for Atmospheres, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, and Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, Maryland; ROBERT ADLER: Laboratory for Atmospheres, Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland; (Manuscript received 1 March 1999, in final form 20 September 1999)

ABSTRACT

In this study, gridded observed precipitation datasets are used to construct rainfall-based ENSO indices. The monthly El Nino and La Nina indices (EI and LI) measure the steepest zonal gradient of precipitation anomalies between the equatorial Pacific and the Maritime Continent. This is accomplished by spatially averaging precipitation anomalies using a spatial boxcar filter, finding the maximum and minimum averages within a Pacific and Maritime Continent domain for each month, and taking differences. The EI and LI can be examined separately or  combined  to  produce one El  Nino–Southern  Oscillation (ENSO)  precipitation index (ESPI).  ESPI  is well correlated with traditional sea surface temperature (e.g., Nino-3.4) and pressure indices [e.g., Southern Oscillation index (SOI)], leading Nino 3.4 by a month. ESPI has a tendency to produce stronger La Ninas [Editor's note: "produce" is used in the sense of the index value indicating a stronger La Nina than the value of Nino 3.4. The actual weather pattern is not impacted by the method used to calculate an index]than does Nino-3.4  and  SOI.  One advantage satellite-derived precipitation indices have over more conventional  indices is describing the strength and position of the Walker circulation.  Examples are given of tracking the impact  of recent ENSO events on the tropical precipitation fields. The 1982/83 and 1997/98 events were unique in that, during the transition  from the warm to the  cold phase,  precipitation patterns associated with El  Nino and  La Nina were simultaneously strong. According to EI and ESPI, the 1997/98 El Nino was the strongest event over the past 20 years.

The idea here is that the SOI is based on data from meteorological sensors (stations) since when we started using the SOI there were no satellites. We now have satellites so we can look at precipitation patterns rather than surmising them from the air pressure readings. Remember this is the ocean and having rain gages everywhere is not very practical. But satellite imagery can be used to determine precipitation. And perhaps precipitation is a better indicator of Walker Circulation (where the air is rising and where it is falling) anyway but it has the problem of not being uniform over an area. So the ESPI Index is designed to deal with that problem.

Here is the key calculation

ESPI Calculation

There are a number of really cool things going on there. First of all two areas are defined one over what is called the Maritime Continent (the coordinates are shown on the graphic) and another over the Central and Eastern Pacific. It is different but somewhat resembles the Nino Measurement Areas but the Maritime Continent (MC) area is much to the west of any of the Nino Measurement Areas and what is being measured is not Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies but levels of precipitation. Curiously, two indexes are prepared. One (EL) shows how El Nino-ish the Situation is and one (LI) shows how La Nina-ish the situation is. EL-LI  then provides ESPI which is the suggested alternative to the SOI. And since the SOI and ONI are correlated the ESPI is also to be considered an alternative to the ONI.
I have to admit that I am flummoxed as I do not understand how a single 10 Latitude X 50 Longitude sub-areas could show both the maximum and minimum average precipitation anomaly within the MC and EP measurement areas. I think the explanation is artist error not showing both the Amc+ and Amc- areas separately within the MC and not showing the Ap+ and Ap- areas separately within the Eastern Pacific EP Area. But no matter, the methodology results in a calculation of El and LI and ESPI = EL - LI. The next question is what is the data that is produced by this process?
Source: Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) click here.

Creation of the ESPI (This is a somewhat repetitive explanation but repetition often helps with  understanding.)

The index is based on rainfall anomalies in two rectangular areas, one in the eastern tropical Pacific (10°S-10°N, 160°E-100°W) and the other over the Maritime Continent (10°S-10°N, 90°E-150°E). The first step of the procedure involves moving a 10° by 50° block around each box; the minimum and maximum values of all possible blocks is obtained for each box and these are combined to estimate an El Niño precipitation index (EI) and a La Niña precipitation index (LI) which are shown below in the plot below (after normalization). The EI and LI are in turn combined to create the ESPI index. Finally, the ESPI index is normalized to have zero mean and unit standard deviation. A new climatology and normalization factors were calculated in August 2014 from GPCP v2.2 precipitation from 1979 to 2013 (35 full years) and these are used in the present calculation of the ESPI.

Notice in the below graphic we see the values for EL, NI, and NINO 3.4. The question then is does Nino 3.4 = EL - LI (which is ESPI)? If the two indices (Nino 3.4 and ESPI, do not track then the question is which is a better measure of the Phase of ENSO?

Components of ESPI

Below the ESPI Index is compared to the Nino 3.4 Index when when averaged over three-month periods becomes the ONI which is the measurement most used in the U.S. to define El Ninos and La Nina's.

ESPI INdex compared to Nino 3.4

As you can see the two indices track each other pretty well but indeed ESPI calculated as cooler than Nino 3.4 for certain months in late 2016 but not now. They are very much in sync. There are issues with how the components of the ESPI index are calculated. In the original 1999 Article there was a promise to refine the method mainly based on having more of the better data over time. The above graphic reflects an improved method of calculation based on updating of the calibration in 2014. The method involves "adjustments" related to the use of two different data sets. All told there are too many degrees of freedom in the methodology for me to conclude that it is more reliable than other measures. But I do believe that the geographical locations of Amc+, Amc-. Ap+, and Ap-  might be very useful for weather prediction purposes. But my foray into an obscure area of meteorology has not changed my mind that NOAA just has it wrong re the current status of ENSO.
Another way of looking at this is that the reason for categorizing conditions in the Pacific re El Nino, La Nina, and Neutral is to understand the Walker Circulation since the Walker Circulation determines where it is wet and where it is dry. Nino 3.4 and the SOI are indirect ways of trying to understand the Walker Circulation. ESPI is a more direct way.  However, when you look at the three canonical forms of walker circulation re ENSO you notice that:
  1. It is a 360 degree situation and ESPI only takes a look at two areas admittedly the two most important.
  2. The La Nina Pattern and ENSO Neutral pattern are similar in the areas measured with ESPI. So it is not easy for ESPI to separate La Nina from ENSO Neutral.

To explain the above assessment, we take a look at the Walker Circulation which is where the warm water causes evaporation and convection (cloud formation) and where these clouds tend to drop their precipitation which creates downwards air movements. The colors also reveal the location of warmer than climatology and cooler than climatology Sea Surface Temperatures (SST) which are used to define the pattern. Pay special attention to the water along the Equator.

La Nina Walker Circulation

It is difficult to see the difference between the La Nina (above) and Neutral conditions (below) but you should pay attention to the more pronounced (darker - thicker arrows) convection zone in the El Nino state as compared to the Neutral state and similarly the stronger subsidence zone in the La Nina state. Subsidence tends to warm and dry air masses.

Inline image 2

It is a lot easier to see the difference between Neutral and El Nino shown below as the pattern tends to reverse with Convection Zones converting to Subsidence (drying) Zones.

Walker Circulation

But these are theoretical constructs and are only a guide to trying to understanding what is going on. And of course these graphics do not address Modokis. That complicates matters even more but on the other hand, the ESPI method may be very useful in comparing Modokis to traditional ENSO events.

A. Focus on Alaska and CONUS (all U.S. except Hawaii)

First Let us focus on the Current (Right Now to 5 Days Out) Weather Situation.

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 right now there are no Atmospheric Rivers impacting CONUS.

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 is a split Low with one lobe centered near Kamchatka with central air pressure of hPa 976 and another lobe off the coast of CONUS with central air pressure of hPa 988. This is a strange pattern with part of the Aleutian Low so far south. The pattern serves as a block for Alaska having its normal storms. Remember this is a forecast for Day 3 not the current situation. The average sea level air pressure 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 the West Coast, the familiar RRR, on Day 3 will be on vacation in Mexico.
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 by clicking on Day 3 or Day 4 or Day 5 or Day 6 or Day 7. These maps auto-update so whenever you click on them they will be forecast maps for the number of days in the future shown.

Short term forecasts

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

Seven Day WPC Quantitative precipitation forecast

There is a lot of precipitation forecast for much of CONUS other than Florida and the Southwest and some of the Northern Plains States. Other than Northern California the quantities are not substantial.

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. Remember that 540 relates to sea level.

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 in the above graphic is a Western Ridge and a Midwest Trough.
Remember this is a forecast for Day 7. Note the 540 Thickness Line re the above discussion of thickness and snow likelihood. The 540 (valley snow) line on Day 7 will be mainly impacting The Great Lakes and New England.

The graphic that I have been showing below was the Eastern Pacific a 24 hr loop of recent readings. When working, it does a good job of showing what is going on right now. When I published and in recent weeks, that graphic was not being displayed but the NOAA website indicated that was a temporary outage. So for the time being I have substituted a static version of that image which works almost as well. However you can obtain somewhat similar imagery loop image by clicking here. It actually provides more functionality than the either the previously or currently displayed version but you have to click to get it as I have not figured out how to get it to display otherwise. It is really cool imagery and explains a lot. For now you have the static image without clicking but can click to view a more elaborate loop image. The loop image provides a better feel for the speed at which things are taking place. But this Quasi-Polar view provides a lot of insight as to what is happening.

Eastern Pacific Static not Loop

Eastern Pacific Animation
Well this animation appears to work. Remember this is the past 24 hours not a forecast. The winds and moisture approaching the West are of most interest. You can clearly see the spinning Pacific Low driving clouds into Northwest CONUS.

I have stopped showing the Tropical events graphic. We are still having tropical events even though it is January but we can track them with the other graphics that I am presenting including the graphic above and below.  They are both the same graphic which you can tell by looking at the date and time stamp but the above graphic covers a larger area and is centered on the Eastern Pacific and the graphic below is centered on North America. That provides more resolution than trying to work with a single graphic that covers a larger fraction of Planet Earth. 

Below is the current water vapor Imagery for North America. It is an enlargement of the graphic two above which covers the Eastern Pacific and CONUS and this is an enlargement of the CONUS portion.

 Water Vapor Imagery

Tonight, Monday evening January 30, 2017 (and this is the current situation not an animation of recent history), as I am looking at the above graphic, we see a mostly cloud-free Southern Tier.

Looking at the current activity of the Jet Stream.

First the current situation. 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 also very important in understanding the impacts north and south of the Jet Stream which is the higher-speed part of the wind circulation and is shown in gray on this map. 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.

Current Jet Stream

One sees the current jet stream above. You can see the Northern orientation of the Jet Stream.

Now looking at the 5 Day Forecast

Jet Stream Five Days Out .

You can see the Jet Stream then further south but with fairly weak winds. Remember this is a H3 view meaning a view at 30,000 feet which is about six miles high.                                                   .

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.

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 FMA Outlook (for reference purposes), the Early Outlook for the single month of February,  the 6 - 10 Day and 8 - 14 Day Maps and the Week 3 -  4 Experimental Outlook. I use "EC" in my discussions although NOAA sometimes uses "EC" (Equal Chances) and sometimes uses "N" (Normal) to pretty much indicate the same thing although "N" may be more definitive.  

First - Temperature

Here is the Three-Month FMA Temperature Outlook issued on January 19, 2017:

FMA 2017  Temperature Outlook Issued on January 19, 2017

Here is the Temperature Outlook for February issued on January 19, 2017

February  Early Temperature Outlook Issued on January 19, 2017

6 - 10 Day Temperature Outlook issued today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on January 30 was 3 out of 5)

6 - 10 Day Temperature Outlook

8 - 14 Day Temperature Outlook issued today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on January 30 was 4 out of 5) 

8-14 Day Temperature Outlook

Looking further out.

Experimental Week 3-4 Temperature Outlook

Consolidation of 6 - 10, 8 - 14 and Experimental Week 3-4 Forecasts (interpreted on January 30, 2017

February 5 to February 13 February 11 to February 24

Alaska will start mixed and become uniformly cool. The Northwest and Southern Tier will be warm. A Northern Tier cool anomaly will be fragmented.and gradually shift to the Northeast. Between the warm and cool anomalies it will be EC.

Alaska will be EC. It will be warm for CONUS more or less south of a line from Oregon to the Florida/Georgia border. A North Central cool anomaly is forecast  Between the warm and cool anomalies it will be EC. The transition to the pattern shown in the Week 3 - 4 Forecast from the pattern shown in the 8-14 Day forecast seems to be feasible.
Remember the Week 3-4 Experimental Outlook was issued last Friday and I am looking at the 6 - 10 and 8 - 14 day forecasts issued today i.e. Monday. So that explains the overlap of dates. Remember that the Week 3 - 4 Forecast covers two weeks so it can appear to not mesh perfectly but actually do so over the two-week period.

 

Now - Precipitation

Here is the three-month FMA Precipitation Outlook issued on January 19, 2017

FMA 2017 Precipitation Outlook Issued on January 19, 2016

And here is the Updated Precipitation Outlook for February issued on January 19, 2017

February  2017 Early Precipitation Outlook Issued on January 19, 2017

6 - 10 Day Precipitation Outlook Issued Today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on January 30 was 4 out of 5)

6 - 10 Day Precipitation Outlook

8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook Issued Today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on January 30 was 3 out of 5)

Current 8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook

Looking further out.

Weeks 3 and 4 Experimental Forecast..

Consolidation of 6 - 10, 8 - 14, and Week 3-4 Forecasts as of January 30, 2017
February 5 to February 13  February 11 to February 24, 2017
Western Alaska is dry and Eastern Alaska and the Panhandle gradually become wet, CONUS starts mostly wet with a dry and slowly growing Southwest Anomaly. Between the wet and dry anomalies it will be EC.

Western Alaska is dry but the Alaskan Panhandle is wet. For CONUS there are two wet anomalies shown:one in the Northwest but smaller than during Feb 5 to Feb 13. The other dry anomaly is for the East Coast but extending west to the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Between the wet and dry anomalies it will be EC, The transition to the pattern shown in the Week 3 - 4 Forecast from the pattern shown in the 8-14 Day forecast seems to be feasible.

Remember the Week 3-4 Experimental Outlook was issued last Friday and I am looking at the 6 - 10 and 8 - 14 day forecasts issued today i.e. Monday. So that explains the overlap of dates. Remember that the Week 3 - 4 Forecast covers two weeks so it can appear to not mesh perfectly but actually do so over the two-week period.

 

The Precipitation seems to be more consistent with ENSO Neutral than either La Nina or El Nino since it is neither far to the North or far to the South.

Here is the NOAA discussion released today January 30, 2017

6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR FEB 05 - 09 2017

TODAY'S ENSEMBLE MEAN SOLUTIONS ARE IN VERY GOOD AGREEMENT ON THE FORECAST 500-HPA CIRCULATION OVER NORTH AMERICA. THE FORECAST BLOCKING PATTERN OVER ALASKA EARLY IN THE PERIOD IS FORECAST TO RETROGRADE TO FAR NORTHEASTERN ASIA DURING THIS PERIOD. THE CONFLUENCE ZONE DOWNSTREAM OF THE BLOCKING PATTERN IS FORECAST TO BE OVER THE ALASKA PANHANDLE INTO WESTERN CANADA. ANOMALOUS RIDGING IS FORECAST SOUTH OF THAT REGION,CENTERED OVER SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. BROAD NEGATIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES ARE EXPECTED OVER MUCH OF CANADA, WITH NEARLY CLIMATOLOGICAL TROUGHING FORECAST TO EXTEND SOUTHWARD INTO THE SOUTHEASTERN CONUS.

DUE TO AN INCREASED INFLUENCE FROM AIR MASSES OF PACIFIC ORIGIN, BELOW-NORMAL  TEMPERATURES ARE ONLY FAVORED FOR PARTS OF THE NORTHERN PLAINS AND NORTHERN NEW ENGLAND OVER THE CONUS. ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED FROM MOST OF THE WESTERN CONUS EASTWARD ACROSS THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN U.S. THIS REGION IS EXPECTED TO BE SOUTH OF THE MEAN FRONTAL ZONE INFERRED BY THE PERIOD-AVERAGE MSLP FORECASTS.

STRONG AND PERSISTENT ONSHORE FLOW IS FORECAST FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, AND THE ENHANCED MID-LEVEL WESTERLIES OVER THE NORTHERN TIER OF THE CONUS FAVOR A MORE ACTIVE STORM TRACK. OVER THE SOUTHWESTERN U.S., BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS MORE LIKELY DOWNSTREAM OF THE FORECAST RIDGE AXIS. NEAR AND EAST OF THE FORECAST TROUGH AXIS JUST EAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER, ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED.

OVER ALASKA, ANOMALOUS NORTHERLY MID-LEVEL FLOW IS EXPECTED TO LEAD TO A COOLING TREND DURING THE PERIOD. MUCH OF CENTRAL AND WESTERN ALASKA ARE MORE LIKELY TO SEE BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IMMEDIATELY DOWNSTREAM OF THE 500-HPA BLOCKING PATTERN.  

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

8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR FEB 07 - 13 2017 

MODELS REMAIN IN FAIRLY GOOD AGREEMENT FOR THE WEEK-2 PERIOD, WITH FURTHER RETROGRESSION OF THE BLOCKING PATTERN OVER THE NORTH PACIFIC AND NORTHEAST ASIA  FORECAST ALONG WITH SOME SLIGHT EASTWARD PROGRESSION OF THE RIDGE-TROUGH PATTERN OVER THE CONUS. THE GEFS, INCLUDING THE LATEST 12Z RUN, CONTINUES TO DEPICT MORE ANOMALOUS TROUGHING OVER EASTERN CANADA AND NEW ENGLAND RELATIVE TO THE OTHER GUIDANCE. THE LATEST 12Z CANADIAN ENSEMBLE SYSTEM CONTINUES TO DIVERGE FROM THE GEFS LATER IN THE WEEK-2 PERIOD. TELECONNECTIONS UPON THE FORECAST HEIGHT CENTERS EXTENDING FROM NORTHEAST ASIA TO ALASKA TO SOUTH-CENTRAL CALIFORNIA, REVEAL A RATHER COHERENT PATTERN WITH EACH CENTER BEING WELL-TELECONNECTED TO THE OTHER TWO. THE CORRESPONDING HEIGHT FIELDS SUGGEST THAT A BLEND OF THE GEFS AND ECMWF ENSEMBLE MEANS IS THE MOST APPROPRIATE FORECAST.  

BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED FOR THE NORTHEAST CONUS AT VERY MODEST PROBABILITIES UNDER SLIGHTLY NEGATIVE 500-HPA HEIGHT ANOMALIES. ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED FOR MUCH OF THE REMAINDER OF THE CONUS, WITH PROBABILITIES EXCEEDING 80 PERCENT IN PARTS OF THE SOUTHWEST. BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE STRONGLY FAVORED OVER MAINLAND ALASKA WITH FORECAST NEGATIVE 500-HPA HEIGHT ANOMALIES EXCEEDING 150 M.  

ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED FOR THE NORTHWESTERN CONUS UNDERNEATH PREDICTED ENHANCED PACIFIC FLOW AND IS CONSISTENT WITH TELECONNECTIONS FROM THE THREE AFOREMENTIONED HEIGHT ANOMALY CENTERS. DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE FROM THE GEFS AS WELL AS THE ECMWF AND CANADIAN ENSEMBLES FAVOR ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE EAST COAST NEAR THE FORECAST ANOMALOUS TROUGH. THERE ARE ENHANCED PROBABILITIES FOR BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ACROSS MUCH OF THE SOUTHERN PLAINS AND SOUTHWEST DOWNSTREAM OF THE FORECAST RIDGE AXIS. WITH ANOMALOUS TROUGHING FORECAST TO BE CENTERED OVER CENTRAL ALASKA, BELOW-(ABOVE-) MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED OVER WESTERN (EASTERN) ALASKA.

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD IS: AVERAGE, 3 OUT OF 5, DUE TO FAIRLY GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG FORECAST TOOLS, OFFSET BY DIVERGING SOLUTIONS AMONG THE VARIOUS ENSEMBLE MEANS LATE IN THE PERIOD.

THE NEXT SET OF LONG-LEAD MONTHLY AND SEASONAL OUTLOOKS WILL BE RELEASED ON  FEBRUARY 16

Some might find this analysis click to read 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

Feb 4, 1954 El Nino - + Tail End
Feb 5, 1954 El Nino - + Tail End
Jan 25, 1955 La Nina - +(t)  
Feb 4, 1995 El Nino +(t) -(t) Modoki
Feb 11, 1996 La Nina + N  
Feb 10, 2006 Neutral + +  
Jan 24, 2007 El Nino N + Tail End

(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 January 24 to February 11 which is 26 days again the same as last week. 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 January 29. These analogs are centered on 3 days and 4 days ago (January 25 or January 26). So the analogs could be considered to be slightly out of sync with the calendar meaning that we will be getting weather just a little earlier than we would normally get for this time of the year. This is consistent with an early Spring.

For more information on Analogs see discussion in the GEI Weather Page Glossary.

There are four El Nino Analogs, two La Nina Analogs and one ENSO Neutral Analog. Looks like the analogs are suggesting that El Nino Conditions Apply. The phase of the ocean cycles is totally indecisive except that McCabe B is excluded. This suggests that the NOAA 6 - 14 Day Outlook and Experimental Week 3-4 Outlook are as good a guess as any other guess.

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

McCabe Condition Main Characteristics
A Very Little Drought. Southern Tier and Northern Tier from Dakotas East Wet
B More wet than dry but Great Plains Dry
C Northern Tier and Mid-Atlantic Drought
D Southwest Drought extending to the North and also the Great Lakes

 

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 recently.

Here is the 30 Days ending January 21, 2017

January 23, 2017 30 Day temperature and precipitation departures.

The precipitation is certainly more like an El Nino pattern but the temperature is more like a La Nina pattern. Splitting the difference we end  up with ENSO Neutral. Remember this is a 30 day average with seven new days added and seven more distant days removed so it changes slowly but has the advantage of not gyrating but showing basically a months worth of information.

And the 30 Days ending January 28, 2017

January 30, 2017 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

The precipitation pattern is a bit more muted since the rains took a hiatus. Remember seven new days are added and seven more distant days are removed. The precipitation pattern is also a bit more muted.

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

Todays Forecast

Temperature at 2 Meters

Notice that below the map which shows the magnitude of the anomalies by geographic area, there is a tabulation of magnitude of the anomalies by region.Currently, Eastern Europe looks brisk. The Mid-North America warm anomaly is interesting.

Maine Reanalyer

Notice the demarcation areas between wet and dry areas. The Southern Hemisphere is quite wet and the Northern Hemisphere is quite dry. North Africa and Asia are particularly uniformly dry.

Additional Maps showing different weather variables can be found here.

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 using the "Back Arrow" usually found top left corner of your screen to the left of the URL Box. It 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

Notice how wet South America is.        

Temperature

BOM Current Temperature Wedensday

Kind of warm in parts of Africa.

Looking Out a Few Months

Here is the new precipitation forecast from Queensland Australia:

Stable near zero SOI  forecast for Jan - Mar 2017.

It is kind of amazing that you can make a worldwide forecast based on just one parameter the SOI and changes in the SOI. Recently, we ran a weather column with the Title El Nino or La Nina? The point of that article was simply that ENSO is not solid La Nina at this point. We are getting mixed signals.Actually the signal that this is ENSO Neutral has become stronger over the past two months.

JAMSTEC

JAMSTEC issued their ENSO forecasts and climate maps on January 10. We published a special Update Report on Saturday Night January 21 which can be accessed by clicking here. Remember if you leave this page to visit links provided in this article, you can return by hitting your "Back Arrow", usually top left corner of your screen just to the left of the URL box. One can always find the latest JAMSTEC maps at this link. You will find additional maps that I do not general cover in my monthly Update Repor.t

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. 
What happened to the presumed La Nina?  Did it go into Hibernation? The Tropical Pacific is NEUTRAL in the Nino 3.4 Measurement area but still definitely on the cool side of Neutral. The cool anomaly is hardly visible and quite westerly displaced actually crossing the Dateline. The waters off of South America are warm including near the Equator. It is very pronounced.
The waters west and east of Japan have become warm but the waters off of Kamchatka Siberia are mostly neutral. The Central Indian Ocean is now mostly cool but centered within the cool anomaly is a small warm anomaly. The water west of Africa is neutral but cool south of Africa and headed into the Indian Ocean. The waters off the Western Coast of Australia are very cool but the Southeast and Northeast Coasts have a small warm anomaly. Water north of Australia is close to neutral. The overall Northern Pacific cool anomaly continues to shift south with a very modest warm anomaly in and south of the Bering Straits. Warm water has developed to the south of the cool anomaly and crossing the Dateline. The NOAA Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) Index as reported by NOAA (Washington University also reports the PDO but using a different methodology which results in higher index numbers) has been 2016-January 0.79, 2016- February +1.25, 2016- March 1.55, 2016- April +1.62. 2016- May +1.45, 2016-June +0.78, 2016-July 0.15, 2016-August -0.87, 2016- September -1.06, 2016- October -0.70, 2016- November +0.80.and now 2016- December +0.45  The above reading for December the PDO again  POSITIVE (JAMSTEC Noticed)Here is the full list of PDO values.
The waters west of CONUS are now mostly neutral probably due to the northerly winds creating upwelling.  The Gulf of California is neutral. The Gulf of Mexico is warm and more so than last week. The waters off of North American are warm. The list of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) values can be found here.
The Black Sea, Caspian Sea, and The Mediterranean are neutral.
The waters north of Antarctica East of South America are cool but a coast warm anomaly is east of Argentina and now also east of Brazil..
I have some additional commentary on this static analysis of the anomalies below where I examine the four-week change in these anomalies.
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 over the last four weeks. 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 is simply the current 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.  

January 30, 2017 Change in four week SSTA's

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 more warming along the Equator in the Pacific especially closer to Ecuador. We seem to be in the transition from a Near La Nina to full ENSO Neutral. The anomaly off of Baja California is cooling. Off the East Coast of North America the anomaly is warming. The anomaly impacting the U.S. Gulf of Mexico is now cooling. West of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea the cooling trend continues but east of Africa the anomaly continues to warm. The waters surrounding Australia are not showing a lot of change in the anomalies. 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.  

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 January 24, 2017 Version and looking at Week 2 of that forecast.

Tropical Hazards

This graphic updates on Tuesdays and I post on Monday which is almost  a week later so Week Two applies unless I go back on Tuesday and update the discussion when the map updates. Mostly I see for Week Two, the period February 1, 2016 to February 7, 2017, The Maritime Continent will be wet**. Eastern Africa will have some impact of wet and dry anomalies*.

* Moderate Confidence that the indicated anomaly will be in the upper or lower third of the historical range as indicated in the Legend.

** High Confidence that the indicated anomaly will be in the upper or lower third of the historical range as indicated in the Legend

Look at the Western Pacific in Motion. NOAA is having problems with their web site so I have temporarily substituted a static image but you can find a somewhat similar loop version by clicking here.  It actually provides more functionality than the displayed version but you have to click to get it as I have not figured out how to get it to display otherwise.

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 not a forecast. But, it ties in with the Week 1 forecast in the  graphic just above the graphic. Information on Western Pacific storms can be found by clicking here. This (click here to read) is an unofficial private source but one that is easy to read.

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       -----------------

 

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

Dec 12, 2016

May 23, 2016

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

175E

155E

Land

155W

90

50

95

50

0C or cooler Anomaly

175W

155W

LAND

Land

80

50

85

60

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

170W

130W

145W

150W

110W

Land

40

30

65

50

-1C or cooler Anomaly

LAND

140W

LAND

105W

0

0

40

35

-1.5C or cooler Anomaly

LAND

135W

LAND

120W

0

0

0

0

 

It is useful to start comparing the current longitudinal extent of the water temperature anomalies with the situation on May 23, 2016.and the second checkpoint of December 12, 2016. As of today the cool event is less prevalent along the Equator than it was on May 23, 2016 and the more recently established reference point of December 12, 2016. I have not highlighted it but the Neutral Area has not recently expanded relative to December 12, 2016 but has relative to May 23, 2016. As the MJO enters its Inactive Phase that should happen at that point. It is part of the cycle of birth, growth, maturity and decline.
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 today 30 degrees of water anomalies cool enough to be a La Nina. Subtracting 30 degrees from the 50 degrees you end up with 20 degrees of ENSO Neutral and 30 degrees of water cool enough to qualify as La Nina i.e. temperature anomalies more negative than -0.5C. There are today 0 degrees of water along the Equator in the ONI Measurement that is -1C or less which would be cool enough to be a moderate La Nina when just looking at the Equator and there are 0 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. The water from 3N to 5N and from 3S to 5S had until recently remained relatively warm. At 130W the warmer water is intruding from both the north and the south as the cool anomaly is being broken into two pieces as part of its transformation into ENSO Neutral.

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 January 30, in the afternoon working from the January 29 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 -0.3 -0.3
B. 160W to 150W -0.5 -0.4
C. 150W to 140W -0.4 -0.3
D. 140W to 130W -0.1 -0.3
E. 130W to 120W +0.1 -0.5
Total -1.2 -1.8
Total divided by five subregions i.e. the ONI (-1.2)5 = -0.2 (-1.8)/5 = -0.4

 

My estimate of the daily Nino 3.4 SST anomaly is a bit cooler at -0.4 which is an ENSO Neutral value. NOAA has reported the weekly Nino 3.4 to be an ENSO Neutral value also at -0.4 which is a bit colder than last week. There had been prior to seven weeks ago three weeks of NOAA reporting an ENSO neutral value for Nino 3.4. Then seven weeks ago NOAA reported a value of -0.6. Then six weeks ago they reported a -0.4, five weeks ago a -0.3, four weeks ago -0.3, three weeks ago the -0.5 which was probably legitimate and two weeks ago -0.3 and last week -0.2. So over the past eleven weeks, NOAA has reported two La Nina values and nine ENSO Neutral values but they still maintain that we have La Nina Conditions. They maintained that position on January 12 when the last ENSO Advisory was determined. It may take a court order to get them to acknowledge that we have not had a La Nina and are now in ENSO Neutral.
Nino 4.0 is reported as being the same as last week at -0.1. Nino 3 is reported slightly cooler at 0.0.  Nino 1 + 2 which extends from the Equator south rather than being centered on the Equator is now again reported much warmer at +2.0 which is an astoundingly high value. If it extended into Nino 3.4 it would represent a SuperNino. What is left of this Cool Event is now focused in one cool spot which we report on elsewhere in this report. Visually I can tell that cool spot is itself unchanged from last week.
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. 

January 30, 2017 Nino Readings

From Tropical Tidbits.com

CDAS Legacy System

The above is from a legacy "frozen" NOAA system meaning the software 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. If this was read like a stock chart one might conclude that there had been a triple bottom and an upside breakout. Below is a "frozen" version of this graphic that I updated two weeks ago with the trend lines for the highs and lows added. I think it is pretty clear that this method of analysis has value. One sees the Nino 3.4 value as reported by the CDAS system to be hovering at the 0C level. But the past few days showed a dip probably related to the MJO.

January 16, 2017 Tropical Tidbits CDAS Nino 3.4 with lines drawn in by Sig Silber
There is not space to extend the trend lines by two months and I am not arguing that the pattern is linear but it does look like the lows are increasing by about +0.2C to +0.3C per month. This is a lot simpler model than NOAA uses but I have found that simplifications of complex models can provide a lot of insight. The channel is increasing and it looks like there could be an upside breakout. Either way, this cool event is coming to an end and did not qualify to being declared to be a legitimate La Nina.

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.

January 30, 2017 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 snapshots 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 auto-updates 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 cool anomaly (bottom of the Hovmoeller is vanishing right before our eyes with almost no blue, more white and now quite a bit of yellow from 110W east. This graphic explains to a large extent the small week to week changes in the Nino 3.4 Index Reading. Remember the +5, -5 degree strip around the Equator that is being reported in this graphic. So it is the surface but not just the Equator.
The Cool Event is completely over. From 130W to the east all you see is yellow. Near the cost we are seeing browns and reds which are El Nino readings. The one valid cool spot at about 160W will soon be gone. That little speck of blue at 130W allowed NOAA to up their estimated of Nino 3.4 at bit. This is ENSO Neutral and NOAA should be ashamed of themselves for refusing to acknowledge reality. Remember, ENSO in the U.S. is measured from between 170W and 120W. In nations with a more sophisticated weather service, more attention is paid to the other parts of the area as shown in a later graphic namely the Nino 4.0, 3.0, and 1.+2 areas. NOAA reports them but tends to ignore them. It may be that for Asia the other areas have impacts somewhat different than the 3.4 area which is a combination of part of 4.0 and 3.0. Clearly Nino 1+2 is very important to South America.
It is not a continuous process and we can see that in this graphic where the Y Axis is time. We see blue areas becoming white and then returning to blue etc. These are small weekly deviations from the trend of this Cool Event being in the decline phase.

I had stopped showing the below graphic which is more focused on the Equator but looks down to 300 meters rather than just being the surface. But over the last month there has been sufficient change to warrant including this graphic.

Janaury 30, 2017 Upper Ocean Heat Anoma

NOAA has now dashed in a Kelvin Wave. We have been indicating the warm pool building for the next El Nino. Looks like NOAA has noticed that this warm pool is moving east. It seems that they acted on our recommendation to get new glasses for all NOAA employees. There is no blue shown at the bottom of the Hovmoeller i.e. the current situation. No blue means no La Nina. Simple as that. We are seeming more and more yellow. Yellow is Neutral but on the high side. Orange is El Nino but it has to be in the Nino Measurement Area.
The life cycle of a La Nina is based on the reservoir of cool water that formed in the Eastern Pacific rising or mixing out or being warmed by sunshine or otherwise returning to a more normal temperature. Unlike an El Nino, there is no reinforcements from the west available to the Cool Event. So it is just a matter of time for the surface to return to ENSO Normal Limits. The currents in the subsurface are complex and there are winds impacting the surface so the exact process is difficult to forecast. So really the only issue here is will the process play out in December or in January. The white and yellow area is ENSO Neutral. There is in this graphic no blue area between 170W and 120W.
There is now no La Nina. Wake up NOAA.

Let us look in more detail at the Equatorial Water Temperatures.

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. Notice by the date of the graphic (dated January 23, 2017) that the lag in getting this information posted so the current situation may be a bit different than shown although this graphic was updated on late Monday so it is more current than usual. The date shown is the midpoint of a five-day period with that date as the center of the five-day period.

This graphic summarizes the situation without providing any detail as to where the warm or cool water is relative to depth.

January 30 Upper Ocean Temperature Anomalies.

When you average the cool water with the warm water you now get a positive number.It is small but warm water does not equate with a La Nina. Sorry NOAA.

Below is the pair of graphics that I regularly provide. 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 except along the Equator where it is adjusted every five years) and how both measures are useful but for different purposes.

Subsurface Heat Anomalies

Re the top graphic, let us first look at surface temperature anomalies. The coolest water at the surface shows up only in very small non-connected areas except right off the coast of Ecuador. Water of La Nina coolness but not very intense shows up along the Equator from just west of the Dateline to the Coast of Ecuador but with significant gaps of less cool water. The -1C water shows most strongly east of the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area and in the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area only in a small area from 157W to 155W i.e. only two degrees of longitude. Subsurface Temperature Anomalies: Notice that the cool anomaly in excess of -1C no longer exists. The -1C  anomaly is shrinking from run to run of this graphic. How is this cool event to be sustained? It looks like 150W to 100W has gone to totally Neutral with now some small areas of ENSO Neutral but warmer than 0C. There are now diminishing areas of -1C water below the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area.
Notice the warm water at depth all the way to 110W but not continuously. It has now been declared by NOAA to be a Kelvin Wave and may be a sign of things to come. It looks like the warmer water at 110W is now less than 50 meters from the surface.

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 now located at 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 is at 170W so we do not yet have ideal conditions for significant convection along the Equator east of the Dateline which is a characteristic of a Cool Event but it is shifting to the East. The 25C isotherm is perhaps at 130W or perhaps at the surface further east and the 24C isotherm is now at the surface all to the way to Ecuador. The 20C Isotherm is being depressed. We are beginning to see the great swap where neutral water replaces the cooler water at the surface.
The flattening of the Isotherm Pattern is an indication  of ENSO Neutral just as the steepening of the pattern indicates La Nina or El Nino depending on where the slope shows the warm or cool pool to be. That flattening has not occurred yet to a great extent. What has been happening has been the depleting of the subsurface cool pool.

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 had until this morning was only the upwelling phase of the series of Kelvin waves last winter. I guess NOAA has not clearly designated that upwelling phase as a new Kelvin Wave but they did put a "dash" through it in the graphic shown earlier.

January30, 2017 Subsurface Temperatures.

There is now  very little surface cool water now shown in this graphic anywhere. There is a small blip of -1C water showing at 157W to 155W i.e. two degrees of longitude. And there is warmer water under the cool anomaly extending fairly continuously and strengthening all the way to east of 100W. It has now risen to just 50 meters below the surface and NOAA has finally noticed it as described in an earlier graphic. The cool subsurface water over to the east where La Nina is not measured by NOAA  is pretty much gone. What is left is very close to the surface suggesting it will be gone soon. South of the Equator but not shown in this graphic the water is very warm.
This is probably not the best place to express the thought but this way of measuring an ENSO event leaves a lot to be desired. Only the surface interacts with the atmosphere and is able to influence weather. The subsurface tells us how long the surface will remain cool (or warm). Anomalies are deviations from "Normal". NOAA calculates and determines what is "Normal" which changes due to long ocean cycles and Global Warming. So to some extent, the system is "rigged". Hopefully it is rigged to assist in providing improved weather forecasts. But to assume that any numbers reported can be assumed to be accurate to a high level of precision is foolhardy. It is strange to me that the Asian forecasting services generally conclude that that this cool ENSO Phase is not a La Nina but a near La Nina and NOAA concludes it is a La Nina but they express their confidence in that declaration in percentages. It is the same ocean. The reported readings are very close but the Asian readings are generally slightly higher (less La Nina-ish) than the NOAA reading and their cut-off points for declaring a La Nina are a bit different and the parts of the Equator they look at are a bit different. It might be explained by what part of the ENSO pattern impacts their area of geography but it just seems to me that NOAA is a bit over eager. And I wonder why.

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

There are Easterlies west of the Dateline. It is fairly normal at this point. Some of the forecasts call for a weak Inactive Phase of the MJO. The conditions for a Westerly Wind Burst creating a Kelvin Wave are increasing. The system is not ready for that just yet. But warm water is moving east below the surface. There is a westerly wind burst shown in this Hovmoeller but it was quite far west. Right now the Easterlies dominate all the way to the Dateline.

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

OLR Anomalies Along the Equator

This is the graphic used by NOAA to justify the upgrade in status of the Cool Event based on lack of cloudiness near the Dateline and to the east. The situation near the Dateline seems to be transitioning to more Neutral conditions near the Dateline. We now have convection at 80W which is off the Coast of Ecuador.In the Western Pacific we have more areas of lack of cloudiness. 

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 the extent to which the Atmospheric Air Pressure at Tahiti exceeds the Atmospheric Pressure at Darwin Australia when normalized 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
Jan 24 -5.98 +0.10 -0.88
Jan 25 +7.31 ++0.38 -0.57
Jan 26 +6.32 +0.64 -0.10
Jan 27 -3.53 +0.62 +0.22
Jan 28 -3.53 +0.69 +0.41
Jan 29 -4.28 +0.46 +0.42
Jan 30 -0.56 +0.11 +0.31

 

The 30 Day Average on January 30 was reported as +0.11 (the same as last Monday) which is ENSO Neutral. The 90 Day Average was reported at -0.83 which is up a bit from last Monday but again as Neutral as an SOI reading can be. Looking at both the 30 and 90 day averages is useful and both are in agreement that we are in ENSO Neutral. 

SOI = 10 X  [ Pdiff - Pdiffav ]/ SD(Pdiff)  where  Pdiff   =   (average Tahiti MSLP for the month) - (average Darwin MSLP for the month),  Pdiffav   =   long term average of Pdiff for the month in question, and SD(Pdiff)   =   long term standard deviation of Pdiff for the month in question. So really it is comparing the extent to which Tahiti is more cloudy than Darwin,  Australia.  During El Nino we expect Darwin Australia to have lower air pressure and more convection than Tahiti. During La Nina we expect the Warm Pool to be further east.       

To some extent it is the change in the SOI that is of most importance. It had been increasing in September but now in October and November and December through essentially all of January has stabilized in the Neutral Range. The SOI is not signaling a La Nina but ENSO Neutral..

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. December was not particularly favorable for La Nina development and most likely neither will be January in terms of the MJO.The forecasts of the MJO are now suggesting an Inactive Phase. The MJO being Inactive is more favorable for the creation of a  La Nina than the MJO being Active. But for a mature westerly displaced cool event the Inactive Phase of the MJO may be negative for that cool event.

The MJO 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 surprising how weak the MJO has been for months. But it may account for what seems to be 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.

Relationship of MJO and ENSO

This Table is a first attempt at trying to related the MJO to ENSO

  El Nino La Nina MJO Active Phase MJO Inactive Phase  
Relationship of MJO and ENSO
Eastern Pacific Easterlies
  • Weaker
  • Stronger
  • Part of Decay Process
  • Counteracts Easterlies
  • Enhances Easterlies
 
Western Pacific Westerlies
  • Stronger
  • May Create or Stimulate the Onset of El Nino via Kelvin Waves
  • Weaker
  • Part of Decay Process
  • Strengthens Westerlies
  • Weakens Westerlies
 
MJO Active Phase
  • More  likely
  • Stimulates
  • Less likely and weak
  • Retards development of a new La Nina
  • Stimulates the Jet Stream
   
MJO Inactive Phase
  • Less Likely
  • Suppresses
  • More likely but weak
  • Accelerates development of a new La Nina and the Decline of a mature La Nina
 
  • Slows the Jet Stream and can induce a Split Stream especially during a La Nina
 

 

Table needs more work. Is intended to show the interactions. What is more difficult is determining cause and effect. This is a Work in Progress. 

Forecasting the Evolution of ENSO

We now have the January both the early-month report from CPC/IRI which I call the reading of the tea leaves in that it is based on a combination of model results and a survey of the views of meteorologists and the mid-month model-based report. [here is an idea to save some taxpayer money - lose the Tea Leaves Report as the real report is issued just a week later].

First  Last week;s  Tea Leaves report.

I call this report the reading of the Tea Leaves as it is based on a survey and discussion. That was fine when the title of the Report was called the Consensus Forecast. Now it is called the Probabilistic ENSO Forecast. If 20 meteorologists are surveyed and 11 believe we will have ENSO Neutral Conditions is the probability of ENSO Neutral Conditions (11/20)X100%? I  do not think so. The new Title of the Report is misleading.

The official CPC/IRI ENSO probability forecast, based on a consensus of CPC and IRI forecasters. It is updated during the first half of the month, in association with the official CPC/IRI ENSO Diagnostic Discussion. It is based on observational and predictive information from early in the month and from the previous month. It uses human judgment in addition to model output, while the forecast shown in the Model-Based Probabilistic ENSO Forecast relies solely on model output. This is updated on the second Thursday of every month.

January 12, 2017 CPC/IRI Tea Leaves Report.

As  usual, the Tea Leaves Report tends to be bit more partial to La Nina than the second report of the month. Nevertheless the Tea Leaves Report shows the probability of ENSO Neutral is higher than the probability of La Nina for DJF and we are in the midpoint of that three month .And here is the discussion that was released with the graphic.

During early January 2016 the tropical Pacific SST anomaly was near -0.5C, the threshold for weak La Niña. Many of the atmospheric variables across the tropical Pacific have also remained consistent with weak La Niña conditions, although some have become only weakly so. The upper and lower atmospheric winds have continued to be weakly suggestive of a strengthened Walker circulation, and the cloudiness and rainfall have remain suggestive of La Niña conditions. The collection of ENSO prediction models indicates SSTs, now near the threshold of La Niña, will dissipate to neutral levels by February.

So even the IRI/CPC realized then that the game was up re promoting a phantom La Nina but it did not stop them then and did not stop NOAA on January 19 from continuing the fiction or is it worse that just meteorological error? Many depend on these reports for hedging decisions in commodities. Something to think about.  Even if one accepted the NOAA JAS reported value which I do not, this Cool Event does not qualify to be recorded as a La Nina due to insufficient duration. It may be accepted by NOAA as having been a La Nina but it will not be in Asia and this complicates statistical analysis and is not a good practice. One needs discipline to be a scientist and NOAA has been showing a disturbing lack of discipline. This is a Cool Event and close to meeting the criteria for being considered a La Nina but close only counts in horseshoes.

And now the January 19, 2017 fully model-based version

January 19, 2017, 2016 Model Based ENSO Forecast

Here is the discussion released with the January 19 Graphic

Recent and Current Conditions

Since August 2016, the NINO3.4 SST anomaly has been near or slightly cooler than -0.5 C, indicative of a weak La Niña SST condition. For December the SST anomaly was -0.42, and for Sep-Nov it was -0.57 C. The IRI’s definition of El Niño, like NOAA/Climate Prediction Center’s, requires that the SST anomaly in the Nino3.4 region (5S-5N; 170W-120W) exceed 0.5 C. Similarly, for La Niña, the anomaly must be -0.5 C or less. The climatological probabilities for La Niña, neutral, and El Niño conditions vary seasonally, and are shown in a table at the bottom of this page for each 3-month season. The most recent weekly anomaly in the Nino3.4 region was -0.3, in the ENSO-neutral level. However, accompanying this ocean condition are atmospheric variables that mainly continue to indicate borderline or weak La Niña. The lower-level trade winds have been enhanced only weakly, while the upper level has shown slightly more convincing westerly anomalies. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) had been positive but has averaged just weakly so since November. On the other hand, convection anomalies across the equatorial Pacific have been suggestive of La Niña. Subsurface temperature anomalies across the eastern equatorial Pacific have essentially returned to average. Overall, given the SST and the atmospheric conditions, the diagnosis of weak La Niña remains appropriate but the event is thought likely to be in the process of dissipation.

Expected Conditions

What is the outlook for the ENSO status going forward? The most recent official diagnosis and outlook was issued one week ago in the NOAA/Climate Prediction Center ENSO Diagnostic Discussion, produced jointly by CPC and IRI; it carries a La Niña advisory but called for the weak La Niña to return to neutral by February. The latest set of model ENSO predictions, from mid-January, now available in the IRI/CPC ENSO prediction plume, is discussed below. Those predictions suggest that the SST is most likely to be in the ENSO-neutral range from January-March season forward through most of 2017, but with increased uncertainty from around May onward.

As of mid-January, 12% of the dynamical or statistical models predicts La Niña conditions for the initial Jan-Mar 2017 season, while 88% predict neutral ENSO. At lead times of 3 or more months into the future, statistical and dynamical models that incorporate information about the ocean’s observed subsurface thermal structure generally exhibit higher predictive skill than those that do not. For the Apr-Jun 2017 season, among models that do use subsurface temperature information, no model predicts La Niña conditions, 90% predicts ENSO-neutral conditions, and 10% predicts El Niño conditions. For all model types, the probabilities for La Niña are below 10% for from Feb-Apr through Sep-Nov 2017. The probability for neutral conditions is near or above 90% from Jan-Mar through Apr-Jun 2017, dropping to between 60 and 65% from Jun-Aug through Sep-Nov. Probabilities for El Niño are near zero initially, rise to 25% by May-Jul 2017, and to near 35% from Jun-Aug to Sep-Nov. Recent and Current Conditions

Since August 2016, the NINO3.4 SST anomaly has been near or slightly cooler than -0.5 C, indicative of a weak La Niña SST condition. For December the SST anomaly was -0.42, and for Sep-Nov it was -0.57 C. The IRI’s definition of El Niño, like NOAA/Climate Prediction Center’s, requires that the SST anomaly in the Nino3.4 region (5S-5N; 170W-120W) exceed 0.5 C. Similarly, for La Niña, the anomaly must be -0.5 C or less. The climatological probabilities for La Niña, neutral, and El Niño conditions vary seasonally, and are shown in a table at the bottom of this page for each 3-month season. The most recent weekly anomaly in the Nino3.4 region was -0.3, in the ENSO-neutral level. However, accompanying this ocean condition are atmospheric variables that mainly continue to indicate borderline or weak La Niña. The lower-level trade winds have been enhanced only weakly, while the upper level has shown slightly more convincing westerly anomalies. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) had been positive but has averaged just weakly so since November. On the other hand, convection anomalies across the equatorial Pacific have been suggestive of La Niña. Subsurface temperature anomalies across the eastern equatorial Pacific have essentially returned to average. Overall, given the SST and the atmospheric conditions, the diagnosis of weak La Niña remains appropriate but the event is thought likely to be in the process of dissipation.

Here is the daily PDF and Spread Corrected version of the NOAA CFSv2 Forecast Model.

CFSv2 spread and bias correct ENSO forecast

The estimated current value of the Nino 3.4 Temperature Anomaly after the adjustments have been applied can be read off this graphic as being -0.2C(and imperceptibly rising) which is an ENSO Neutral Value. Looking ahead to next summer you see some El Nino members of the forecast ensemble but it is before the Spring Prediction Barrier which means we need to wait a few months before getting excited about that. But we clearly are forecast to be in ENSO Neutral for the rest of this Winter.

The full list of weekly values can be found here.

There is a delay between changes in the value of Nino 3.4 and impacts on CONUS Weather. Nino 3.4 is measure near the Equator between 170W and 120W. CONUS is located between 130W and 70W. The  teleconnection between the Equator and mid-Latitudes is taking place continuously but the impact on Longitudes further east takes time which can be looked at as the Westerlies or the Rossby/Planetary Waves moving weather in the Pacific through CONUS. That can take a month or so and with the Low Wave Number discussed earlier, may take a bit longer. This was discussed in the NOAA Seasonal Outlook Update on January 19. For now one might assume that ENSO Neutral might be the pattern for February with January showing transitioning behavior.

Here is the NOAA statement on ENSO released on January 12.

EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION  issued by CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS  and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society        

12 January 2017 ENSO Alert System Status: La Niña Advisory

Synopsis: A transition to ENSO-neutral is expected to occur by February 2017, with ENSO-neutral then continuing through the first half of 2017.

La Niña continued during December, with negative sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies continuing across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific (Fig. 1). The weekly Niño index values fluctuated during the last month, with the Niño-3 and Niño-3.4 regions hovering near and slightly warmer than -0.5°C (Fig. 2). [Editors note: If the Nino 3.4 Temperature Anomaly is warmer than -0.5C it is not La Nina Conditions]. The upper-ocean heat content anomaly was near zero when averaged across the eastern Pacific (Fig. 3), though near-to-below average subsurface temperatures were evident closer to the surface (Fig. 4). Atmospheric convection remained suppressed over the central tropical Pacific and enhanced over Indonesia (Fig. 5). The low-level easterly winds were slightly enhanced over the western Pacific, and upper-level westerly anomalies were observed across the eastern Pacific. Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system remained consistent with a weak La Niña.

The multi-model averages favor an imminent transition to ENSO-neutral (3-month average Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C), with ENSO-neutral lasting through August-October (ASO) 2017 (Fig. 6).   Along with the model forecasts, the decay of the subsurface temperature anomalies and marginally cool conditions at and near the ocean surface portends the return of ENSO-neutral over the next month. In summary, a transition to ENSO-neutral is expected to occur by February 2017, with ENSO-neutral then continuing through the first half of 2017 (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).

Even as the tropical Pacific Ocean returns to ENSO-neutral conditions, the atmospheric impacts from La Niña could persist during the upcoming months (NOAA’s 3-month seasonal outlook will be updated on Thursday January 19th). The current seasonal outlook for JFM 2017 favors above-average temperatures and below-median precipitation across much of the southern tier of the U.S., and below-average temperatures and above-median precipitation in portions of the northern tier of the U.S.

This discussion is a consolidated effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA’s National Weather Service, and their funded institutions. Oceanic and atmospheric conditions are updated weekly on the Climate Prediction Center web site (El Niño/La Niña Current Conditions and Expert Discussions). Forecasts are also updated monthly in the Forecast Forum of CPC's Climate Diagnostics Bulletin. Additional perspectives and analysis are also available in an ENSO blog. The next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion is scheduled for 9 February 2017. To receive an e-mail notification when the monthly ENSO Diagnostic Discussions are released, please send an e-mail message to: ncep.list.enso-update@noaa.gov.

Climate Prediction Center
National Centers for Environmental Prediction
NOAA/National Weather Service
College Park, MD 20740

I believe it  was improper from a scientific perspective for NOAA to maintain the La Nina Advisory on January 12 but they have been willing to see what they have wanted to see which is different than what other Meteorological Agencies were seeing and now they have pretty much stated that their next System Status Report will be ENSO Neutral. I guess I am more of a purist and when the criteria for La Nina Conditions existing do not exist I would not say they did but on the other hand it was closer to La Nina than the mid-point of Neutral so one can understand why they have opted for the approach they have taken. At least this discussion above is accurate other than the Title Line. To  get to the HTML version which will let you click on the links go to here

Forecasts from Other Meteorological Agencies.

Here is the Nino 3.4 report from the Australian BOM (it updates every two weeks)

Australia POAMA ENSO model run

Discussion (notice their threshold criteria are different from NOAA but also their actuals are higher (less La Nina-ish) than reported by NOAA and yet Nino 3.4 is standard. So someone is incorrect OR WORSE.)

Here is the discussion.

ENSO outlooks

Climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate that ENSO-neutral conditions are likely for the remainder of the southern hemisphere summer and into autumn. All models indicate the central Pacific is likely to warm over the coming months, suggesting ENSO-neutral or El Niño are the most likely scenarios for winter/spring 2017.

A neutral ENSO state does not necessarily mean average rainfall or temperature for Australia. Rather it means that ENSO patterns are not driving Australia's weather toward generally wetter or drier conditions. Other shorter-term or smaller-scale climate drivers may dominate and hence influence Australia's climate.

Half the models surveyed suggest strong warming may occur during autumn, with five reaching El Niño thresholds by mid  to late winter. It must be noted that this outlook straddles the autumn [Editor’s Note: Spring in the Northern Hemisphere] predictability barrier—typically the ENSO transition period—during which most models have their lowest forecast accuracy.

We now have the new JAMSTEC January 1,  2017 ENSO forecast.

JAMSTEC January 1, 2017 Two Year Enso Forecast

The model shows that we are in  ENSO Neutral. The potential for an El Nino next winter is shown but right now the duration is too short to be recorded as an El Nino. That may change but we are dealing with the Spring Predictability Barrier SPB so it is way too early to be predicting next winter.

The Discussion that goes with their Nino 3.4 forecast has been released.

Jan. 16, 2017 Prediction from 1st Jan., 2017

ENSO forecast:

The latest SINTEX-F prediction suggests the termination of the current weak La Niña Modoki/La Niña state in coming months. Majority of the ensemble members continue to indicate recurrence of a weak El Niño event in the latter half of 2017. It will be interesting if an El Niño event really evolves in 2017, which may suggest a decadal turnabout in the tropical Pacific climate condition to El Niño-like state after a long spell of La Niña-like state, which led to the global warming hiatus.

Indian Ocean forecast:

The predictions continue to suggest development of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole in coming boreal fall. We also expect the Ningaloo Niño off the west coast of Australia in austral fall.

Regional forecast:

On a seasonal scale, most part of the globe will experience a warmer-than-normal condition, while some parts of eastern Canada, northern Brazil, and western Australia will experience a colder-than-normal condition in the boreal spring.

According to the seasonally averaged rainfall prediction, a wetter-than-normal condition is predicted for eastern part of Brazil, western Australia and South Africa during the austral fall. Most parts of southeastern China, Indonesia, eastern Africa, western half of Europe, northern part of South America (including Colombia, Venezuela, and Guyana) will experience a drier condition during the austral fall, whereas the Philippines, Indochina, southern Mexico, and the eastern half of Europe will experience a wetter-than-normal condition. Most parts of Japan will be warmer and drier than normal in boreal spring. However, we note that highly fluctuating mid- and -high latitude climate may not be captured well by the current model.

Indian Ocean IOD (It updates every two weeks)

The IOD Forecast is indirectly related to ENSO but in a complex way.

IOD POAMA Model Run

Discussion

Indian Ocean Dipole outlooks

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is neutral. The weekly index value to 29 January is +0.05 °C.

The influence of the IOD on Australian climate is weak during December to April. This is due to the monsoon trough shifting south over the tropical Indian Ocean and changing the overall wind circulation, which in turn prevents an IOD ocean temperature pattern from being able to form. Current outlooks suggest a neutral IOD for the end of autumn.

D. Putting it all Together.

Looks like this Cool Event is no longer even properly described as "La Nina Conditions Apply".  But it still is. Who knows when NOAA will figure it out but most likely they will declare this to be ENSO Neutral on February 9. At this time there is now some interest as to whether or not next Summer and Fall will be El Nino situations. The models are suggesting this as a possibility. But it is too soon to tell due to something called the Spring Predictability Barrier or SPB. There are many resources to learn about the SPB and what is being done to reduce the error rate of predictions at this time of the year and one of those resources can be accessed by clicking  here  .

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. Parts of that discussion are in the beginning  section of this week's Report.

The odds of a climate shift for CONUS taking place has significantly increased. It may be in progress. It looks like it may follow  this ENSO Cool Event this summer or perhaps the Cool Event will last for one more year.  JAMSTEC is suggesting that if there is an El Nino in the winter of 2017/2018 this could signify that the PDO has entered its Positive Phase. The AMO is pretty much neutral at this point (but more positive i.e. warm than I had 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. JAMSTEC is suggesting it might occur very soon.

E. Relevant Recent Articles and Reports

Weather in the News

Hotel rates to watch the Groundhogs are outrageous.

Save your money.  Winter is over.

Weather Research in the News

Nothing to report.

Global Warming in the News

There will be a Climate Conference sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) February 5 - 10 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I will be giving a talk on Southwest Climate on February 10 and we will publish my talk on or about February 10..

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 0.9 - + JAS  2007  MJJ 2008 -1.4 - +
M JJA 2009 MAM     2010 1.3 N + JJA  2010 MAM 2011 -1.3 + +
            JAS  2011

JFM  2012

-0.9 - +
T MAM 2015 AMJ 2016 2.3 + N          

 

ONI Recent History

ONI History Updated on January 9, 2017

The Aug/Sept/Oct reading has been issued and is now updated to be  -0.8. The Sep/Oct/Nov preliminary estimate is -0.8 and the preliminary OND has just come out as -0.8 so there would now need for there to be only one more period of -0.5 or colder for this to be eligible to be formally recorded as a La Nina. I suspect there will be one more. NOAA seems to be determined to make that happen. THEIR FUNDING OR CAREER PATHS MAY DEPEND ON THAT.

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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