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posted on 06 February 2017

February 6, 2017 Weather and Climate Report - February Update and NOAA Takes the Leap

Written by Sig Silber

NOAA declares the non-La Nina to be an official La Nina illustrating that crimes against science by the U.S.Government are not subject to prosecution. But they are legally able to be belittled. Is there a Climategate II/III controversy? February Outlook updated. Active Phase of the MJO stimulates precipitation. I think that Numero Uno Groundhog got it wrong but if the track record is that this groundhog is wrong 40% of the time, you can be 60% correct by reversing the decision of groundhogs that are located too far south to get it right. 

 weather.caption

Some say that groundhogs are not scientific. But my theory is that the approach may make some sense by measuring how quickly the seasonal migration north of the Jet Stream is occurring. Selecting the optimum day to take the measurement and the optimum latitude to locate the groundhog is what might be called calibrating the model. There are many different definitions of Spring. One that I find useful is when it mostly snows in the mountains but rains in the valleys and when it snows in the valleys, it tends to melt quickly. So that is why I concluded that winter weather is over for most of CONUS.

NOAA Update of their January Outlook

NOAA has, as usual, issued an update for the month following the last day of the prior month. This update was issued on January 31 and rather than have a Special Update that covers simply the next month, we combined that report with our Regular Weekly Report and we will discuss that first by comparing the Updated Outlook for February to the Early Outlook for February issued on January 19, 2017. 

Temperature

Prior Outlook Issued on January 19, 20176

February Early Temperature Outlook Issued on January 19, 2016

Updated Outlook Issued on January 31, 2017

Updated Temperature February 2017 Outlook Updated on January 31, 2017

Alaska changes from EC or warm to EC or cool. CONUS is now all warm except for New England and the Upper Great Lakes which is EC. A big change from the prior forecast.

Precipitation

Prior Outlook Issued on January 19, 2017

February Precipitation Early Outlook Issued on January 19,  2017

Updated Precipitation Outlook Issued on January 31, 2017

February 2017, Precipitation Outlook Updated on January  31, 2017

The Southern Tier dry anomaly shrinks to just the Southwest and the Northern Tier wet anomaly consolidates and expands to the west. 

Below is the discussion issued with this update.S THE NORTHERN PORTION OF THE WESTERN CONUS.

30-DAY OUTLOOK DISCUSSION FOR FEBRUARY 2017

THE UPDATED TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS FOR FEBRUARY 2017 ARE BASED LARGELY ON THE LATEST DYNAMICAL MODEL GUIDANCE (GFS, CFS, AND ECMWF), WPC'S WEEK-1 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK, CPC'S WEEK-2 TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS, THE 384-HR TOTAL PRECIPITATION FORECAST FROM THE LATEST GFS RUN (12Z), WEEK 3/4 TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION FORECASTS FROM THE CFS AND ECMWF MODELS, POTENTIAL INFLUENCES OF THE MADDEN-JULIAN OSCILLATION (MJO), CURRENT SURFACE TEMPERATURE AND PRECIPITATION OBSERVATIONS, AND SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE OBSERVATIONS ALONG THE U.S. COASTLINE.

THE UPDATED TEMPERATURE OUTLOOK FOR FEBRUARY 2017 FAVORS ABOVE-NORMAL AVERAGE TEMPERATURES ACROSS MOST OF THE CONTIGUOUS U.S., WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE NORTHEAST AND NORTHERN AND EASTERN PORTIONS OF THE GREAT LAKES REGION, WHERE EQUAL CHANCES (EC) IS INDICATED. PROBABILITIES IN EXCESS OF 60-PERCENT ARE DEPICTED OVER THE SOUTHWEST. THE PREDICTION OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES IS BASED UPON CPC'S LATEST WEEK-2 TEMPERATURE GUIDANCE, AND THE MOST RECENT WEEK 3/4 FORECASTS FROM THE CFS AND THE ECMWF MODELS. IT IS ALSO CONSISTENT WITH THE MOST RECENT RUNS OF THE MONTHLY CFS WHICH PREDICT WIDESPREAD ANOMALOUS WARMTH ACROSS THE CONUS. THE TEMPERATURE FORECAST FOR FEBRUARY IS MORE UNCERTAIN FOR ALASKA. BELOW-NORMAL MEAN TEMPERATURES ARE PROJECTED FOR ALASKA DURING THE WEEK-2 PERIOD, WITH A GRADUAL MODERATION IN TEMPERATURES EXPECTED DURING THE SECOND HALF OF FEBRUARY. THEREFORE, MOST OF THE STATE IS DEPICTED AS EC, WITH THE BEST CHANCE FOR ANY RESIDUAL AREA OF BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ANTICIPATED OVER SOUTHWESTERN PORTIONS OF THE STATE.

THE UPDATED PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FOR FEBRUARY 2017 FAVORS ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FROM NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST GENERALLY EASTWARD ACROSS THE NORTHERN ROCKIES TO THE DAKOTAS, AND CONTINUING EASTWARD OVER THE UPPER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY, THE GREAT LAKES REGION, AND THE OHIO VALLEY. SOME OF THE WESTERN PRECIPITATION TOTALS PREDICTED DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF  FEBRUARY WOULD BE ENOUGH TO CARRY THOSE AREAS FOR THE ENTIRE MONTH. ACCORDING TO THE ECMWF WEEK-1 TOTAL PRECIPITATION FORECAST, ABOUT 8-10 INCHES IS EXPECTED TO FALL (LIQUID EQUIVALENT) ACROSS OROGRAPHICALLY FAVORED AREAS OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA (INCLUDING THE NORTHERN SIERRAS), AND SOUTHWESTERN OREGON DURING AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF ONSHORE FLOW. PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION EXCEED 60-PERCENT FOR MUCH OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST. THE PREDICTED SWATH OF ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ACROSS MOST OF THE NORTHERN TIER OF THE CONTIGUOUS U.S. HAS ADDITIONAL SUPPORT FROM CPC'S WEEK-2 PRECIPITATION MAP, TODAY'S 12Z GFS 384-HR TOTAL PRECIPITATION GRAPHIC, AND THE WEEK 3/4 AND LATEST MONTHLY CFS PRECIPITATION FORECASTS. ANOTHER CONSIDERATION IS THE CURRENT STATUS OF THE MJO. THE ENHANCED CONVECTIVE PHASE OF THE MJO IS PRESENTLY OVER THE WESTERN MARITIME CONTINENT (PHASE 4), THOUGH THE SIGNAL IS WEAK. LAGGED COMPOSITES OF 200-HPA HEIGHT (USING PHASE 4 IN THIS CASE) FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR FAVOR HEAVY PRECIPITATION ACROSS OREGON AND NORTHERN CALIFORNIA WITHIN THE FIRST WEEK OR SO OF FEBRUARY, FOLLOWED BY A DRYING TREND SHORTLY THEREAFTER. ELSEWHERE ACROSS THE CONUS, THE UPDATED 30-DAY PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FAVORS BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION ACROSS MUCH OF THE SOUTHWEST, SOUTHERN ROCKIES, AND SOUTHERN PLAINS. THIS SIGNAL HAS BEEN CONSISTENTLY SUPPORTED BY AT LEAST THE LAST 9 RUNS OF THE CFS MONTHLY PRECIPITATION FORECASTS FOR FEBRUARY, THE LATEST WEEK-2 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOK FROM CPC, AND THE MOST RECENT WEEK 3/4 PRECIPITATION OUTLOOKS FROM BOTH THE CFS AND ECMWF. CONFLICTING AND/OR MIXED CLIMATE GUIDANCE IS INDICATED FOR ALASKA; HENCE THE FORECAST OF EC FOR THE 49TH STATE.

Sometimes it is useful to compare the present month outlook to the three-month outlook

February Plus  February  -  April 2017 Outlook

February and FMA 2017  Updated on January 31, 2017

One can mentally subtract the February Outlook from the three-month Outlook and create the Outlook for the last two months in the three-month period namely March and April 2017. If one does that you might conclude that:

Re precipitation it is not too complicated. The big difference between February and the three-month outlook is that the three-month outlook is dry for the Southeast but EC for February. If you look carefully you will see four levels of probability of being different than EC: 33%, 40%, 50% and 60%. I am not sure if NOAA calls those levels "classes" as they may just refer to +, - and EC as classes i.e. three levels. But they show nine levels of probabilities on these maps: EC plus four levels of positive deviation from normal and four in the other direction. So if you assume these colors are assigned correctly it is a simple algebra equation to solve 3-Month Probability  = February Probability + 2X(March/April probability). So you can derive the March/April forecast this way.You can do that calculation easily for where you live.
Alaska is the same for February and the three-month period. The Northern wet and Southwest dry anomalies are a bit different so one can mentally solve the equation shown above and guesstimate the March/April personalities which for the Southwest dry anomaly apply mostly to the EC states neighboring the three-month dry Southwest anomaly but which are dry in February.
For temperature it is much more complicated as the changes in some cases are from warm to cool or vice versa. So it can be as much as going from 60% probability in one direction to 60% in the other although I don't see any changes that are that severe. But Western Alaska goes from being cool in February to being warm for the three month period so that logically means that March/April must have an even higher probability of being warm than shown for the three-month period. Similarly some parts of the Northern Tier are cool in February but warm for the three-month period. So the probabilities for being warm in March/April have to be really high for this to work out. Then there are the EC areas in February shown as warm for the three months.
One has to keep in mind that we are now subtracting a February Map issued on January 31 from a January 19 three-month map so it is less reliable than the exercise we went through in the special Update Report. We are assuming that the three-month outlook issued on January 19 would not change if it was released on January 31. The results in the box above might be an indication of how March and April will differ from the three-month outlook or it might alternatively indicate how the three-month outlook might be modified if issued today. So the discussion in the paragraph above this may be overruled by a conclusion that the three-month outlook is no longer correct and the updated February Outlook is a better predictor of the three-month outlook than the three-month maps issued on January 19. The Northern Tier and Western Alaska may fall into that category. Sometimes NOAA says this in the discussion that is released with the end of month update of the following month. This is what they said in the January 19 Outlook Discussion."THE FLUCTUATIONS OF THE CFS DURING THE PAST 10 DAYS SEEM TO SUGGEST A CIRCULATION PATTERN THAT HAS NOT YET LOCKED IN TO A STABLE SOLUTION." This explains both the significant change and suggests that the above analysis may or may not be helpful.
There is also the painful process for NOAA of adjusting to the reality that there is no La Nina.

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 two Atmospheric Rivers impacting CONUS. The one arriving from the Pacific is expected to have a lot of moisture to drop. Notice the darker red.

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 984. 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. But it will still be in position working with the low further north to steer Pacific Storms into Northern California and Oregon.
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 the Southwest. For the West Coast, the quantities are very 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 Central Trough that pretty much engulfs all of CONUS but it creates a ridge to the west and one to the east. As I am looking at this right now I see what might be a cut-off Low  (that is unable to keep up with the movement of the trough across CONUS) impacting the Southwest. Remember this is a Day 7 Map.
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 not be impacting CONUS.

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 Pacific Low driving clouds into California and Oregon.

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  February 6, 2017 (and this is the current situation not an animation of recent history), as I am looking at the above graphic, we see the West Coast activity shown in an earlier graphic but also activity in the Great Lakes area and Florida being water vapor free.

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. Notice the northern orientation but also the southern tier activity as the Jet Stream divides as it reaches the West Coast.

Now looking at the 5 Day Forecast

Jet Stream Five Days Out .

You can see the Jet Stream diving down to Baja.  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 Temperature Outlook Issued on January 31, 2017

6 - 10 Day Temperature Outlook issued today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on February 6 was 5 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 February 6 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 February 6, 2017

February 12 to February 20 February 18 to March 3

Alaska will be mixed with the Panhandle warm. CONUS is mostly warm except New England becoming cool and a small part of the Northwest being EC.

It is all warm except for three EC areas: most of New England, California with adjoining parts of Nevada and Arizona and Northern Alaska. 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  Precipitation Outlook Issued on January 31, 2017

6 - 10 Day Precipitation Outlook Issued Today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on February 6 was 5 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 February 6 was 4 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 February 6, 2017
February 12 to February 20  February 18 to March 3, 2017
Alaska including the Panhandle is wet. CONUS starts dry in the West and wet in the East and gradually becomes dry in the Great Lakes Area and New England. he West and Southern Tier are wet and in between it is EC.

Southern Alaska including the Panhandle and a small part of Northwest CONUS are dry.The Southeast except for Florida is wet. California east to the Iowa and Missouri borders is wet. 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 somewhat improbable.

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 February 6, 2017

6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR FEB 12 - 16 2017  

TODAY'S DYNAMICAL MODEL SOLUTIONS ARE IN EXCELLENT AGREEMENT ON THE 500-HPA  CIRCULATION PATTERN PREDICTED OVER NORTH AMERICA. ALL MODELS PREDICT A MEAN  RIDGE NEAR THE WEST COAST OF NORTH AMERICA, A TROUGH OVER FAR WESTERN ALASKA  AND THE BERING SEA, A TROUGH OVER MOST OF EASTERN NORTH AMERICA, AND ANOTHER  TROUGH (POSITIVELY TILTED) CENTERED NEAR THE FOUR CORNERS REGION. THE LAST TWO  FEATURES RESULT IN A MID-TROPOSPHERIC CONFLUENCE ZONE ACROSS THE SOUTHEASTERN CONUS. THOUGH ALL OF YESTERDAY'S MODEL SOLUTIONS SHOW REASONABLE CONTINUITY WITH TODAY'S FORECAST PATTERN, YESTERDAY'S 6Z DETERMINISTIC GFS RUN APPEARS TO BE THE CLOSEST MATCH. ENSEMBLE SPAGHETTI MAPS (5760 M) DEPICT LOW TO MODERATE DISPERSION OF ENSEMBLE MEMBERS ACROSS THE FORECAST DOMAIN.

ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED OVER MOST OF THE CONTIGUOUS UNITED STATES, AND OVER SOUTHEASTERN ALASKA (INCLUDING THE ENTIRE PANHANDLE), ASSOCIATED WITH PREDICTED WIDESPREAD COVERAGE OF ABOVE-NORMAL 500-HPA HEIGHTS, AND THE EXPECTATION THAT AIR MASSES WILL BE OF RELATIVELY MILD PACIFIC ORIGIN.  BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE FAVORED OVER WESTERN ALASKA, DUE TO AN EXPECTED 500-HPA TROUGH AND BELOW-NORMAL HEIGHTS.

ABOVE-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS FAVORED OVER NEARLY ALL OF ALASKA, THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA OF WASHINGTON STATE, AND FROM THE SOUTHERN PLAINS AND LOWER MISSISSIPPI VALLEY NORTHEASTWARD UP THROUGH THE GREAT LAKES, NORTHEAST, AND MID-ATLANTIC. THIS IS GENERALLY ATTRIBUTED TO THE EXPECTATION OF APPROACHING, OR ACCOMPANYING, MID-LEVEL TROUGHS. BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED OVER MOST AREAS WEST OF THE ROCKIES, THE NORTHERN AND CENTRAL PLAINS, AND THE UPPER AND MIDDLE MISSISSIPPI VALLEY. THIS IS DUE TO THE PREDICTION OF AN UPSTREAM RIDGE, ACCOMPANYING ABOVE-NORMAL 500-HPA HEIGHTS, AND WIDESPREAD SUBSIDENCE.  

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD: MUCH ABOVE AVERAGE, 5 OUT OF 5, DUE TO EXCELLENT MODEL AGREEMENT.

8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR FEB 14 - 20 2017 

TODAY'S ENSEMBLE MEAN DYNAMICAL MODEL FORECASTS ARE IN FAIRLY GOOD AGREEMENT ON  THE PREDICTED 500-HPA CIRCULATION PATTERN OVER NORTH AMERICA FOR THE WEEK-2 PERIOD. A SLIGHT EASTWARD PROGRESSION OF THE MAIN CIRCULATION FEATURES IS EXPECTED. SOMEWHAT GREATER UNCERTAINTY IS APPARENT ACROSS THE SOUTHWESTERN AND SOUTH-CENTRAL PORTIONS OF THE CONUS, WHERE THERE ARE VARIOUS DEGREES OF SPLIT FLOW ANTICIPATED (THOUGH DIFFERENCES ARE FAIRLY SMALL IN TERMS OF PRACTICAL  IMPACTS). ENSEMBLE SPAGHETTI MAPS (5760 M) GENERALLY DEPICT LOW TO MODERATE SPREAD AMONG ENSEMBLE MEMBERS OVER THE FORECAST DOMAIN. THE 0Z CANADIAN  ENSEMBLE MEAN SHOWS ITS GREATEST SPREAD IN AMPLITUDE OVER THE WESTERN CONUS, IN ASSOCIATION WITH A FORECAST RIDGE.

THE PREDICTED TEMPERATURE ANOMALY PATTERN FOR WEEK-2 IS SIMILAR TO, THOUGH A BIT LESS AMPLIFIED THAN, THAT EXPECTED FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD. A SMALL AREA OF  BELOW-NORMAL TEMPERATURES IS ANTICIPATED ACROSS THE NORTHEAST. MUCH MORE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES ARE PREDICTED IN THE WEEK-2 PRECIPITATION PATTERN. THE EXPECTED EASTWARD MOVEMENT OF THE MEAN RIDGE OVER THE WESTERN CONUS IS FORECAST TO ALLOW THE OVERSPREADING OF PACIFIC MOISTURE ACROSS MUCH OF THE WEST, WITH THE PACIFIC JET DIRECTED TOWARD CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, AND THE SOUTHERN GREAT BASIN. MOISTURE ASSOCIATED WITH THE LEADING PORTION OF A  SOUTHERN STREAM TROUGH PREDICTED OVER THE SOUTH-CENTRAL STATES IS FORECAST TO SPREAD EASTWARD ACROSS THE GULF COAST AND SOUTHEASTERN STATES. A LARGE AREA OF BELOW-MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS PREDICTED TO EXTEND FROM THE NORTHERN AND CENTRAL PLAINS GENERALLY EASTWARD ACROSS THE GREAT LAKES REGION, MIDWEST, OHIO VALLEY,NORTHERN AND CENTRAL APPALACHIANS, THE NORTHEAST, AND UPPER PORTIONS OF THE  MID-ATLANTIC.

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD IS: ABOVE AVERAGE, 4 OUT OF 5, DUE TO FAIRLY GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG MODELS AND TOOLS.

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

Jan 19, 1954 El Nino - +  
Jan 18, 1962 Neutral - +  
Jan 29, 1963 Neutral - +  
Jan 30, 1963 Neutral - +  
Feb 5, 1975 La Nina - - After 1972/1973 Powerful El Nino
Feb 15, 1986 Neutral + -  
Feb 2, 1989 La Nina - -  
Feb 19, 1993 El Nino + - Modoki Type II
Feb 13, 1995 El Nino +(t) -(t) Tail End of Possibly a Modoki

(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 18 to February 19 which is 32 days which is wider than 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 February 3. These analogs are centered on 3 days and 4 days ago (February 1 or February 2). So the analogs could be considered to be in sync with the calendar meaning that we will be getting weather that we would normally get for this time of the year.

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

There are three El Nino Analogs, two La Nina Analogs and four ENSO Neutral Analogs. Looks like the analogs are suggesting that ENSO Neutral Conditions Apply. The phase of the ocean cycles is somewhat indecisive except that McCabe C (Northern Tier Drought) is excluded and McCabe D (Southwest Drought) may be slightly favored. This suggests that the NOAA 6 - 14 Day Outlook and Experimental Week 3-4 Outlook may make sense with respect to historical analogs.

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 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.

And the 30 Days ending February 4, 2017

February 6, 2017 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

The Precipitation looks like more of an El Nino pattern though less widespread and intense than the graphic from one week ago. The temperature pattern is also similar but less intense. Today NOAA declared that the recent Cool Event was a real La Nina. Time to offshore that function.

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 there is a tabulation of magnitude of the anomalies by region. They are all positive but there is a significant cool belt across Canada and Eurasia.

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 Brazil is. These are not forecasts of anomalies but actuals.

Temperature

BOM Current Temperature Wedensday

It is cold above 40N.

Looking Out a Few Months

Here is the new precipitation forecast from Queensland Australia:

Stable near zero SOI  forecast for Mar - Apr 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. Notice the wet Northern Tier of CONUS and the overall slightly dry orientation of the forecast.

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

Weekly SST Anomalyi

Remember this discussion is all about anomalies not absolute temperatures...so it is deviation from seasonal norms. The Daily Report does not seem to be updating so I have also shown the weekly which did update recently. My comments are restricted to the Weekly Report. The weekly report may be the better report to look at anyway. 
What happened to the presumed La Nina?  Did it go into Hibernation? The Tropical Pacific is NEUTRAL in the Nino 3.4 Measurement area. The only cool area is in the western end of the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area. The waters off of South America are warm and expanding. This looks like how an El Nino Modoki originates.
The waters south of Japan have become warm but the waters east of Japan and off of Kamchatka Siberia are mostly cool.. The Central Indian Ocean is now mostly cool but south of the cool anomaly is a warm anomaly. The water west of Africa is neutral. The waters off the Southwest Coast of Australia are cool but the Southeast Coast has 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. The warm water south of the cool anomaly is not very impressive but does cross 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 cool. The Gulf of Mexico is just slightly warm. The waters off of North American are warm. The list of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) values can be found here.
The Black Sea and Caspian Sea are cool. The Mediterranean is neutral.
The waters north of Antarctica East of South America are now a warm anomaly.
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.  

Change in four week SSTA

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 a lot more warming along the Equator in the Eastern Pacific. We are in full ENSO Neutral. At the southern end of South America the anomalies are warming both to the west and to the east. The anomaly off of Baja California is cooling. The anomaly impacting the U.S. Gulf of Mexico continues cooling. West of Africa in the Gulf of Guinea the cooling trend continues but south of Africa the anomaly continues to warm. The waters surrounding Australia are not showing a lot of change except in the Southeast and further south offshore. 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 31, 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 8, 2016 to February 14, 2017, The Maritime Continent will be wet*. South Africa will have some impact of wet*. Parts of Eastern Brazil will be wet* and Northwest Australia may have Tropical Cyclone Activity**.

* 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       -----------------

 

Notice that part of the cool anomaly is west of 170W and does not get counted as being in the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area and may be why some of the Analogs are associated with El Nino Modoki Events.

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

170E

155E

LAND

155W

95

50

95

50

0C or cooler Anomaly

DATELINE

155W

120W

Land

60

50

85

60

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

175W

145W

150W

Land

25

25

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 Active Phase the pattern should shift to the East a bit. 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 25 degrees of water anomalies cool enough to be a La Nina. Subtracting 25 degrees from the 25 degrees you end up with 25 degrees of ENSO Neutral and 25 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 February 6, in the afternoon working from the February 5 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 -0.4
B. 160W to 150W -0.4 -0.3
C. 150W to 140W -0.3 -0.1
D. 140W to 130W -0.3 +0.1
E. 130W to 120W -0.5 +0.1
Total -1.8 -0.6
Total divided by five subregions i.e. the ONI (-1.8)5 = -0.4 (-0.6)/5 = -0.1

 

My estimate of the daily Nino 3.4 SST anomaly is quite a bit warmer at  -0.1 which is an ENSO Neutral value. NOAA has reported the weekly Nino 3.4 to be an ENSO Neutral value also at -0.3 which is a bit warmer  than last week. There had been prior to eight weeks ago three weeks of NOAA reporting an ENSO neutral value for Nino 3.4. Then eight weeks ago NOAA reported a value of -0.6. Then seven weeks ago they reported a -0.4, six weeks ago a -0.3, five weeks ago -0.3, four weeks ago the -0.5 which was probably legitimate and three weeks ago -0.3 and two week ago -0.2 and last week -0.4. So over the past twelve weeks, NOAA has reported two La Nina values and ten ENSO Neutral values but today they reported a three month value of -0.7 to allow them to declare this to be a La Nina. 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. There are two different reference points for reporting short-term estimates of Nino 3.4 and longer term assessments for purposes of determining the ONI. So NOAA has a defense two sets of books. Usually you go to jail for that. NOAA is not going to jail for this crime.
Nino 4.0 is reported as being a little colder this week at -0.3 consistent with the Inactive Phase of the MJO which has moved the cool anomaly a bit to the west. Nino 3 is reported warmer at 0.4. Nino 1 + 2 which extends from the Equator south rather than being centered on the Equator is reported a bit cooler at 1.5 which still is an astoundingly high value. If it extended into Nino 3.4 it would represent a strong El Nino. There is nothing left of this Cool Event other than NOAA's crime against science.
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. 

February 6, 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 froze today with the trend lines for the highs and lows added. I treated the early December high values as an outlier. I think it is pretty clear that this method of analysis has value.

February 6, 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.

February 6, 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 150W 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 180W to 155W will soon be gone. Part of it has been blown west of the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area. 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.

February 6, 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 February 2, 2017) that the lag in getting this information posted so the current situation may be a bit different than shown. The date shown is the midpoint of a five-day period with that date as the center of the five-day period.

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 -1C water no longer shows anywhere. It may be temporary but we only see -0.5 C water now and is only showing from 170W to 155W.  Subsurface Temperature Anomalies: The cool water is almost all gone. Notice the warm water at depth all the way to and beyond 110W but not continuously. It looks like the warmer water at 110W is now less than 10 meters from the surface. It is mostly water that is less than +1.0C so it is El Nino type water in places but it is not at the surface and it is not in the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area. .

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 and the 24C isotherm is no longer at the surface all to the way to Ecuador. The 20C Isotherm is being depressed especially west of 100W. We are beginning to see the great swap where neutral water replaces the cooler water at the surface. Actually that swap has pretty much occurred at this point.
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. At this point we have gone to ENSO Neutral but not El Nino.

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 recently 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.

February 6, 2017 Subsurface Temperatures.

There is now no surface cool water shown in this graphic. 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 10 or 20 meters below the surface.
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 31 +12.02 -0.31 +0.24
Feb 1 +15.13 -1.04 +0.26
Feb 2 +15.71 -1.50 +0.41
Feb 3 +10.33 -1.92 +0.51
Feb 4 +11.10 -1.90 +0.60
Feb 5 +26.23 -1.21 +0.88
Feb 6 +26.66 -0.57 +1.14

 

The 30 Day Average on February 6 was reported as -0.57 (lower than last Monday even with a week of very high readings which shows how a 30 day moving average works the seven days that dropped out of the moving average might have been even higher values than the seven new ones) which is ENSO Neutral. The 90 Day Average was reported at +1.14 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 from October through January the SOI has stabilized in the Neutral Range.

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. January accelerated the decline of this near La Nina development and most likely February will also be unkind in the opposite way in terms of the MJO as it does not deplete the cool pool but stimulates Kelvin Waves. .

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 have the JAMSTEC January 1,  2017 ENSO forecast. We expect to receive the February 1 Forecast soon.

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

Nothing to report.

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.

Climategate III?

Have not had time to study this issue. It is creating a lot of noise. There are many articles being written on this. Here is one of the better ones. Because of its importance and to save people from the free registration needed to read the article, I am showing the contents of that article below. It is available from many different sources and there are many other articles on this topic. 

Back in December, some American scientists began copying government climate data onto independent servers in what press reports described as an attempt to safeguard it from political interference by the Trump administration. There is to be a March for Science in April whose organisers say: “It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.”

Well, today they have a chance to do just that, but against their own colleagues who stand accused of doing what they claim the Trump team has done. Devastating new testimony from John Bates, a whistleblowing senior scientist at America’s main climate agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, alleges that scientists themselves have been indulging in alternative facts, fake news and policy-based evidence.

Bates’s essay on the Climate Etc. website (and David Rose’s story in The Mail on Sunday) documents allegations of scientific misconduct as serious as that of the anti-vaccine campaign of Andrew Wakefield. Bates’s boss, Tom Karl, a close ally of former US president Barack Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren, published a paper in 2015, deliberately timed to influence the Paris climate jamboree. The paper was widely hailed in the media as disproving the politically inconvenient 18-year pause in global warming, whose existence had been conceded by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change two years earlier.

Bates says Karl based the “pausebuster” paper on a flawed land-surface data set that had not been verified or properly archived; and on a sea-surface set that corrected reliable data from buoys with unreliable data from ship intakes, which resulted in a slightly enhanced warming trend. Science magazine is considering retracting the paper. A key congressional committee says the allegations confirm some of its suspicions.

Bates is no “denier”; he was awarded a gold medal by the US government in 2014 for his climate-data work. Having now retired he writes of “flagrant manipulation of scientific integrity guidelines and scientific publication standards”, of a “rush to time the publication of the paper to influence national and international deliberations on climate policy” and concludes: “So, in every aspect of the preparation and release of the data sets leading into (the report), we find Tom Karl’s thumb on the scale pushing for, and often insisting on, decisions that maximise warming and minimise documentation.”

This is more than just a routine scientific scandal. First, it comes as scientists have been accusing US President Donald Trump and other politicians of politicising science. Second, it potentially contaminates any claim that climate science has been producing unbiased results. Third, it embarrasses science journalists who have been chronicling the growing evidence of scientific misconduct in medicine, toxicology and psychology, but ignored the same about climate science because they approve of the cause, a habit known as noble-cause corruption.

Colleagues of Karl have been quick to dismiss the story, saying other data sets come to similar conclusions. This is to miss the point and exacerbate the problem. If the scientific establishment reacts to allegations of lack of transparency, behind-closed-door adjustments and premature release so as to influence politicians, by saying it does not matter because it gets the “right” result, they will find it harder to convince Trump he is wrong on things such as vaccines.

Besides, this is just the latest scandal to rock climate science. The biggest was climategate in 2009, which showed scientists conspiring to ostracise sceptics, delete emails, game peer review and manipulate the presentation of data, including the truncation of a tree-ring-derived graph to disguise the fact that it seemed to show recent cooling (“hide the decline”). The scientists concerned were criticised by two rather perfunctory inquiries, but have since taken to saying they were “exonerated”.

There was the case of the paper the IPCC relied upon to show that local urban warming was not distorting global data sets, which turned out to be based partly on non-existent data from 49 Chinese weather stations; the Scandinavian lake sediment core used “upside down” to imply sudden warming; the chart showing unprecedented recent warming that turned out to depend on a single larch tree in Siberia; the southern hemisphere hockey-stick chart that had been created by the omission of inconvenient data series; the Antarctic temperature trend that turned out to depend on splicing together two weather station records.

Then there was the time when a well known climate scientist, Peter Gleick, stole the identity of a member of a think tank so he could leak confidential documents along with a fake one. Stephan Lewandowsky had to retract a paper about the psychology of climate scepticism that seemed to be full of methodological flaws and bizarre reasoning.

And don’t forget Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC for 13 years and often described as the “world’s top climate scientist”. He had to retract his “voodoo science” dismissal of a valid finding that contradicted claims from Pachauri’s own research institute about Himalayan glaciers, which had led to a lucrative grant. That scandal resulted in a highly critical report into the IPCC by several of the world’s top science academies, which recommended among other things that the IPCC chairman stand down after one term. Pachauri ignored this, kept his job and toured the world while urging others not to, before resigning over a personal scandal allegation.

I have championed science all my adult life. It is humankind’s greatest calling. That is why I deplore those who drag down its reputation by breaching its codes of conduct for political reasons, and I have no time for those excusing these enormities. They foment anti-intellectualism and play directly into the hands of people such Mr Trump. Under the Obama administration, says Professor Judith Curry, Bates’s colleague, “I suspect that it would have been very difficult for this story to get any traction.” Yikes.

Bates calls for more ethics teaching in science and for “respectful discussion of different points of view” — which we were emptily promised after climategate. It is time for the many brilliant scientists who are discovering great insights into quasars and quarks, Alzheimer’s and allergies, into neurons, fossils, telomeres and ice ages, to “take a public stand and be counted” against the politicisation of some science within their own ranks.

The Times

This story is very interesting to me not because I believe that Global Warming is not real but to me the topic has been very politicized. And I am very upset with NOAA re this declaration of the recent Cool Event being a La Nina. It was not. They briefly reported a fake El Nino in 2014 and to me this is a fake La Nina. Why would a weather agency report a fake La Nina? I can think of reasons and they are all bad. I find it distressing that the ethics of science are eroding like many other aspects of civilization.

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 February 6, 2017

The Nov/Dec/Jan preliminary has just come out as -0.7 making this Cool Event for the moment officially a La Nina. I think it is a National Disgrace. it may be worse than that as there can be nefarious motives for reporting false information on things that might impact commodity prices. It is time for NOAA to be audited. 

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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