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posted on 14 February 2017

February 13, 2017 Weather and Climate Report - La Nina Cancelled to Make Room for El Nino

Written by Sig Silber

It took a while but NOAA finally recognized that the La Nina that they had declared was no longer happening - although they are not yet ready to acknowledge that it never really fully happened. Is El Nino coming? We will have a much better idea in May. An Active MJO may stimulate the Jet Stream so California may get additional heavy rain.

 weather.caption

Perhaps at Least a Temporary Reprieve from Nature.

Race to Repair Dam

Race to avoid disaster. (click to read)

It seems that for the moment the danger has receded a bit but the weather forecast is not totally favorable...there should be a break in the torrent but it may not last very long and it may resume with a vengeance. It is not clear at this point how much precipitation there will be from Thursday onward.

I happen to be a Supervisor of a Soil and Water Conservation District in New Mexico with seven flood-control dams one of which has reached the end of its useful life and has perhaps even more serious problems, but on a smaller scale, than the dam.above.  I have very serious concerns with respect to whether or not we will win our race to prevent a disaster. There are many dams that are problematical in the U.S. and it is a lot better to fix them prior to them breaching. I wish I had (and I will attempt to get) data on all U.S. dams which were constructed at different times with different assumptions, mostly related to the transformation of the U.S. from a rural nation to an urban nation. That has a lot to do with the way dams are constructed especially flood-control dams. The Oroville Dam is not a flood control dam but a combined water storage and flood control dam. It is intended to hold water. Flood control dams are intended to only slow down water. It is a complicated subject that I do not fully understand but those who live below any dam need to familiarize themselves with the situation and be active to support those who manage that dam.

NOAA Cancels the Phantom La Nina

Here is the official statement by NOAA after they stuck their toe in the Eastern Pacific and noticed that the water was warm rather than cold. This link will allow you to read the report in HTML which would allow you to click on the Fig. Numbers in the Diagnostic Discussion to see the graphics that support this Diagnostic Discussion. .

EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION

Issued by CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society 9 February 2017

ENSO Alert System Status: Final La Niña Advisory   

Synopsis: ENSO-neutral conditions have returned and are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring 2017.

La Niña conditions are no longer present, with slightly below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) observed across the central equatorial Pacific and above-average SSTs increasing in the eastern Pacific (Fig. 1). The latest weekly Niño index values were -0.3°C in the westernmost Niño-4 and Niño-3.4 regions, and +1.5°C in the easternmost Niño-1+2 region (Fig. 2). The upper-ocean heat content anomaly increased during January and was slightly positive when averaged across the eastern Pacific (Fig. 3), a reflection of above-average temperatures at depth (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 tropical Pacific, and upper-level westerly winds were near average. Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system is consistent with ENSO-neutral conditions.

Most models predict the continuation of ENSO-neutral (3-month average Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C) through the Northern Hemisphere summer (Fig. 6).   However, a few dynamical model forecasts, including the NCEP CFSv2, anticipate an onset of El Niño as soon as the Northern Hemisphere spring (March-May 2017).  Because of typically high uncertainty in forecasts made at this time of the year for the upcoming spring and summer, and the lingering La Niña-like tropical convection patterns, the forecaster consensus favors ENSO-neutral during the spring with a ~60% chance.  Thereafter, there are increasing odds for El Niño toward the second half of 2017 (~50% chance in September-November).  In summary, ENSO-neutral conditions have returned and are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring 2017 (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).

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 March 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

Notice that NOAA could not bring themselves in the subject line to say "It is now ENSO Neutral" but began with "Final La Nina Advisory"  Normally a "final advisory" is in anticipation of the end of a situation rather than a report after a situation has ended. So that subject line would have been more appropriate for the January 12 ENSO Alert System Status. This is just my opinion but NOAA appears to have for some reason desired to be able to declare this Cool Event to have risen to the level of being an official La Nina. I do not believe it met the criteria. 
With NOAA having acknowledged finally that we are no longer in a La Nina (whether or not there had actually been one), I had anticipated that this report could eliminate some of the graphics I present which were intended to:
A. Monitor the Cool Event to see if it became a true La Nina and to estimate when it would be over and
B. Show why NOAA has been getting it incorrect which has degraded their multi-seasonal forecasts.
But it seems we simply have switched from monitoring a Cool Event where NOAA and I had a disagreement only on whether or not it was a Near La Nino or a Marginal La Nina to now monitoring a potential El Nino.  ENSO has been very active since late 2014.

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.

Water Vapor.

This view of the past 24 hours provides a lot of insight as to what is happening.

Eastern Pacific Animation

Below is the same graphic as above but without the animation to show the current situation with respect to water vapor imagery for North America. It also covers more of CONUS.

 Water Vapor Imagery

Tonight, Monday evening  February 13, 2017, as I am looking at the above graphic, we see the Baja storm transversing New Mexico on the way to points east and north and a break in the flow of heavy moisture into California. But Oroville Dam is not yet out of danger.

Looking at the current activity of the Jet Stream.

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 especially in the winter 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 with the cutoff lows being 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. One sees what last week was a kink in the Jet Stream which has now broken off but is being dragged along by the Southern Branch of the Mid-Latitude Jet Stream. California is not directly under the Jet Stream right now.

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). For a more technical discussion this might be a good reference. The idea is that we have now concluded that moisture moves via narrow but deep channels in the atmosphere rather than being very spread out. This raises the potential for extreme precipitation events.

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 we see moisture getting ready to enter the West Coast. This graphic is about Atmospheric Rivers i.e. thick concentrated movements of water moisture.

60 Hour Forecast.

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 as I look at this graphic a single Low with central air pressure of hPa 976. It is an odd shape and could easily split into two pieces as right now it extends very far to the Southeast. This is a strange pattern with part of the Aleutian Low so far south. 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 remains on vacation down towards but not right now in Mexico. But it will still be in position working with the low further north to steer Pacific Storms into Northern California and Oregon. That has created the flooding problem. It resembles in some ways what is called the Pineapple Express as storms from the direction of Hawaii are able to reach the West Coast. But this is not a temporary one time event but a fairly stable pattern that is allowing storm after storm to impact the West Coast.
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.

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.

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 cumulative precipitation forecast. More information is available here.

Seven Day WPC Quantitative precipitation forecast

We still see the heavy forecasted precipitation for Northern California. The graphic shows the cumulative precipitation over a seven day period. It seems that most of this precipitation will be later in the period and some may be snow which runs off slowly. 

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 mid-CONUS Trough and an East Coast/ Great Lakes Ridge.
Remember this is a forecast for Day 7. Note the 540 Thickness Line re the above discussion of thickness and snow likelihood.
Last week we said. "The 540 (valley snow) line on Day 7 will not be impacting CONUS." Things worked out a bit differently. This week it looks like only the Northwest will have snow at sea level locations.

 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 13 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 13 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 13, 2017

February 19 to February 27 February 25 to March 10

Alaska will start cool and then become warm. CONUS is mostly warm except the West where the cool anomaly will expand to the east. Between the cool and warm anomalies it will be EC.

Alaska will be warm. A third of CONUS will be warm southeast of a line stretching from Albuquerque NM to Chicago. There will be a cool swath from California to Western Minnesota. Between these anomalies it will be EC.  The transition to the pattern shown in the Week 3 - 4 Forecast from the pattern shown in the 8-14 Day forecast seems to be feasible.
Remember the Week 3-4 Experimental Outlook was issued last Friday and I am looking at the 6 - 10 and 8 - 14 day forecasts issued today i.e. Monday. So that explains the overlap of dates. Remember that the Week 3 - 4 Forecast covers two weeks so it can appear to not mesh perfectly but actually do so over the two-week period.

 

Now - Precipitation

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

FMA 2017 Precipitation Outlook Issued on January 19, 2016

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

February  2017  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 13 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 13 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 13, 2017
February 19 to February 27  February 25 to March 10, 2017
Alaska is mostly wet except for the Panhandle which is dry. CONUS is wet and the pattern shifts east and north with the Northwest becoming EC and parts of the Southwest becoming dry,

Alaska is mostly EC but the Panhandle is dry. The Northwest is dry. The Southern Tier East of Arizona/Utah/Idaho is wet except for Florida and the wet anomaly sags south to not include Missouri and Illinois. 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 consistent with ENSO Neutral.

Here is the NOAA discussion released today February 13, 2017

6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR FEB 19 - 23 2017

TODAY'S DYNAMICAL MODEL SOLUTIONS ARE IN FAIRLY GOOD AGREEMENT ON THE 500-HPA CIRCULATION PATTERN PREDICTED OVER NORTH AMERICA. TROUGHS ARE EXPECTED OVER  PARTS OF NORTHWESTERN ALASKA, IN THE WEST-CENTRAL ATLANTIC, AND OFF THE PACIFIC  NORTHWEST COAST, WITH TROUGHING EXTENDING SOUTHEASTWARD INTO PARTS OF THE SOUTHWEST AND CENTRAL U.S. RIDGES ARE PREDICTED OVER PARTS OF EASTERN ALASKA  AND THE EASTERN U.S. 

POSITIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES ASSOCIATED WITH RIDGING IN THE EASTERN U.S. ARE EXPECTED TO BE OF LARGE MAGNITUDE, ESPECIALLY NEAR AND NORTH OF THE GREAT LAKES REGION. BECAUSE OF THAT, AND BECAUSE TODAY'S DYNAMICAL AND STATISTICAL TEMPERATURE TOOLS ARE IN VERY GOOD AGREEMENT ON ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES IN THE EASTERN U.S., ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES ARE HIGHLY FAVORED FOR THE EASTERN TWO-THIRDS OF THE CONUS. BELOW NORMAL HEIGHTS AND AN INCREASE IN PRECIPITATION EXPECTED IN THE WESTERN CONUS FAVOR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR PARTS OF THE WESTERN CONUS. NEGATIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES OVER WESTERN PORTIONS OF ALASKA, AND RELATIVELY COLD LOW-LEVEL CONTINENTAL AIR FLOWING INTO THE STATE, FAVOR NEAR TO BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR THE STATE.

A STORM SYSTEM EXPECTED TO COME ONSHORE IN ALASKA NEAR THE END OF THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD INCREASES THE LIKELIHOOD OF ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MOST OF THE STATE, EXCEPT FOR EXTREME EASTERN MAINLAND ALASKA AND THE ALASKA PANHANDLE, WHERE POSITIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES FAVOR BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION. SEVERAL STORM SYSTEMS FORECAST TO COME ONSHORE IN THE WESTERN CONUS FAVORS ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR ALL OF THE WESTERN CONUS, AND INTO THE GREAT LAKES REGION AS WELL AS THE STORM SYSTEMS ARE EXPECTED TO MOVE NORTH AND EAST DURING THE  PERIOD. A STORM SYSTEM EXPECTED TO FORM OVER TEXAS DURING THE PERIOD ENHANCES THE LIKELIHOOD OF ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR PARTS OF TEXAS AND LOUISIANA, AND AS THE STORM SYSTEM IS FORECAST TO POTENTIALLY STRENGTHEN IN THE EASTERN U.S., ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IS ALSO FAVORED FOR MOST OF THE EASTERN U.S.

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD: WELL ABOVE AVERAGE, 5 OUT OF 5, DUE TO GOOD MODEL AGREEMENT, GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG THE TOOLS, AND A RELATIVELY  AMPLIFIED PREDICTED CIRCULATION PATTERN.

8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR FEB 21 - 27 2017 

BY THE WEEK-2 PERIOD, THE LARGE-SCALE PATTERN IS EXPECTED TO BE SHIFTED EASTWARD, WITH POSITIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES EXPECTED OVER ALL OF ALASKA, NEGATIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES OVER THE WESTERN HALF OF THE CONUS, AND POSITIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES IN THE EAST. THE TEMPERATURE PROBABILITY FORECAST FOR THE WEEK-2 PERIOD IS SIMILAR TO THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD, ALTHOUGH THE PATTERN IS SHIFTED A BIT EASTWARD. IN ADDITION THE PROBABILITIES ARE LOWER, DUE TO INCREASED UNCERTAINTY DURING THE WEEK-2 PERIOD, AS WELL AS THE POTENTIAL FOR SOME TROUGHING TO WEAKEN THE POSITIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES IN THE EASTERN U.S. FOR ALASKA, POSITIVE HEIGHT ANOMALIES FORECAST DURING WEEK-2 INCREASE THE CHANCES FOR ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MOST OF THE STATE.

THE PRECIPITATION PROBABILITY FORECAST FOR THE WEEK-2 PERIOD IS SIMILAR TO THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD, WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS. ONSHORE STORM SYSTEM ACTIVITY OVER THE WEST IS FORECAST TO DIMINISH AS THE TROUGH IS EXPECTED TO BE INLAND BY THE WEEK-2 PERIOD. [Editor's Note: This will be a relief for areas dealing with flooding]. THIS WILL CAUSE LOWERING PROBABILITIES OF ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION IN ALL OF THE WESTERN CONUS, FAVORING NEAR MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, AND BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FROM PARTS OF THE SOUTHWEST TO THE WESTERN PARTS OF THE GULF COAST. AN INCREASE IN STORM SYSTEM ACTIVITY FORECAST FOR ALASKA BY THE WEEK-2 PERIOD FAVORS ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MAINLAND ALASKA. 

FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD IS: ABOVE AVERAGE, 4 OUT OF 5, DUE TO RELATIVELY GOOD MODEL AGREEMENT, GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG THE TOOLS, OFFSET BY RELATIVELY WEAK FORECAST HEIGHT ANOMALIES.

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

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

Analogs to the Outlook.

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

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

Day

ENSO

Phase

PDO AMO

Other Comments

Feb 14, 1981 Neutral + -  
Feb 15, 1981 Neutral + -  
Feb 15, 1982 Neutral + - Prior to very strong El Nino
Feb 16, 1982 Neutral + - Prior to very strong El Nino
Jan 24, 1989 La Nina - -  
Feb 1, 1991 Neutral - - Prior to El Nino Modoki
Feb 2, 1991 Neutral - - Prior to El Nino Modoki
Jan 24, 1993 Neutral + -  
Feb 19, 1995 El Nino +(t) -(t)  
Feb 7, 1996 La Nina + -  

 

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

One thing that jumped out at me right away was the spread among the analogs from January 24 to February 19 which is 27 days which is tighter 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 6. These analogs are centered on 3 days and 4 days ago (February 7 or February 9). 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 two La Nina Analogs, one El Nino Analog, and seven ENSO Neutral Analogs. Looks like the analogs are suggesting that ENSO Neutral Conditions Apply. The phase of the ocean cycles of the analogs points to McCabe A and to a lesser extent B both of which are wet and seem to be in line with the 6 to 14 day forecast but not necessarily the Experimental Week 3-4 Precipitation Outlook.

The seminal work on the impact of the PDO and AMO on U.S. climate can be found here. Water Planners might usefully pay attention to the low-frequency cycles such as the AMO and the PDO as the media tends to focus on the current and short-term forecasts to the exclusion of what we can reasonably anticipate over multi-decadal periods of time. One of the major reasons that I write this weather and climate column is to encourage a more long-term and World view of weather.

McCabe Maps modified to include the subtitles

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 February 4, 2017

February 4, 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. Last week, NOAA declared that the recent Cool Event was a real La Nina. Time to offshore that function.

And the 30 Days ending February 11, 2017

February 13, 2017 30 Day Temperature and Precipitation Departures

Both precipitation and temperature is a bit muted except for temperature in the Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys which may explain recent tornadic activity. Remember this is a 30 day average with seven recent days added and seven distant days removed.

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. Canada and Eastern CONUS look pretty warm. Turkey looks pretty cold.

Maine Reanalyer

Notice the demarcation areas between wet and dry areas. However that demarcation is slowly changing possible related to changes in ENSO. 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 it looks pretty stormy off the coast of Antarctica. Hard to tell exactly where the precipitation is forecast relative to Oroville Ca.

Temperature

BOM Current Temperature Wedensday

It is projected to be hot in Australia and parts of Africa.

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 Forecasts

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 Report.

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. I have switched over to the weekly analysis. It is less visually interesting but probably more meaningful and the Daily has have some update issues. . .

Weekly SST Anomalyi

Remember this discussion is all about anomalies not absolute temperatures...so it is deviation from seasonal norms.
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 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 and right now barely crosses 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 -0.68, 2016- November +0.84, 2016- December +0.54 and now January 0.21. The above reading for January is PDO Positive but not by much.  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 very 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 four weeks 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.  

February 13, four week change in SST Anomalies.

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 continued warming along the Equator in the Eastern Pacific but extending further west. We are in full ENSO Neutral headed towards a Warm Event but it is not yet clear that this will be an El Nino i.e. meet all the necessary criteria which NOAA may pay attention to but which they have not for the last three or four years (loss of discipline). The Western Pacific is warming. I do not see a PDO pattern. At the southern end of South America the anomalies continue but are less intense which is hard to interpret when one is looking at a four week average. We have not discussed that before. If you  have numeric values you can do the calculation. Looking at colors it is harder to draw conclusions. I suspect that the reds are sufficiently lighter to really represent blue for the one month and looking up at the graphic above I still see reds so it just means a decline in the anomaly not a reversal. The anomaly off of Baja California is stable. The anomaly impacting the U.S. Gulf of Mexico continues cooling but more slowly. West of Africa but to the south 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 where cooling is intensifying. 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.

Tropical Hazards

This graphic updates on Tuesdays and I post on Monday which is almost a week later than when this graphic was last updated. So Week Two applies at the time I write this article on Monday but by the time you read it on Tuesday the Week Two that I am looking at is updated and becomes Week One. Mostly I see for what is presented on February 13 as being Week Two, the period February 15, 2016 to February 21, 2017, is a wet anomaly off the West Coast of CONUS*, a wet band right above South Africa*, and the potential for cyclonic development off the Northeast Coast of Australia. .

* 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.

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 this 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 ENSO

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.

And here is the current version of the TAO/TRITON Graphic. The top part shows the actual temperatures, the bottom part shows the anomalies i.e. the deviation from normal.

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 recent Analogs have been 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

175E

155E

LAND

155W

99

50

95

50

0C or cooler Anomaly

DATELINE

155W

140W

Land

40

30

85

60

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

175W

145W

155W

Land

20

20

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 compare the current longitudinal extent of the water temperature anomalies with the situation on May 23, 2016 and the second checkpoint of December 12, 2016. What is new is that the part of the anomaly along the Equator which is cool enough to be ENSO Neutral or cooler has two components both ENSO neutral but one having a warm bias and one having a cool bias and the cool bias now for the first time only has 30 degrees of coverage.  This means there is 50 - 30 or 20 degrees of ENSO Neutral Warm Bias water from 140W to 120W.
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 20 degrees of water anomalies cool enough to be a La Nina. Subtracting 20 degrees from the 50 degrees you end up with 30 degrees of ENSO Neutral and 20 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. 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 150W to 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. The pattern has cycled a bit with some cooler water further East than was the case last week.

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 13, in the afternoon working from the February 12 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 -0.4 -0.4
B. 160W to 150W -0.3 -0.1
C. 150W to 140W -0.1 0
D. 140W to 130W +0.1 +0.1
E. 130W to 120W +0.1 +0.2
Total -0.6 -0.2
Total divided by five subregions i.e. the ONI (-0.6)5 = -0.1 (-0.2)/5 = 0

 

My estimate of the daily Nino 3.4 SST anomaly is a bit warmer at 0 which is an ENSO Neutral value. NOAA has reported the weekly Nino 3.4 to be an ENSO Neutral value at +0.1 which is an ENSO Neutral value but now with an El Nino bias. There is no longer a need to harp on how NOAA has exaggerated the reporting of this Cool Event. Nature has forced them to get real.
Nino 4.0 is reported as being a bit warmer this week at -0.2. Nino 3 is reported warmer at 0.7. Nino 1 + 2 which extends from the Equator south rather than being centered on the Equator is reported with no change at 1.5 which is an astoundingly high value. If it extended into Nino 3.4 it would represent a strong El Nino.
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 13, 2017 Nino Readings

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 13, 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 (and only half of the blue in the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area), some white and now quite a bit of light yellow, dark yellow and browns from 155W east. 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. This is possibly the beginning of an El Nino Modoki pattern.

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 recently there has been sufficient change to warrant including this graphic.

February 13, 2017 Upper Ocean Heat Anoma

The bottom of the Hovmoeller shows the current situation. The Cool Event is long gone. But what might be a Kevin wave initiating an El Nino is still not very impressive. But there are westerlies so that might change real fast.

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 7, 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. We only see -0.5 C water now from 180W to 160W so only 10 degrees of this is within the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area.  Subsurface Temperature Anomalies: The cool water is almost all gone. Notice the warm water at depth all the way to the coast of South America. It looks like the warmer water at 110W is now at the surface.

The bottom half of the graphic (Absolute Values which highlights the Thermocline) is now more useful as we track the transition to ENSO Neutral..

It shows the thermocline between warm and cool water. The 28C Isotherm is now located at the 170E. 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 the Dateline 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 also ENSO Neutral. 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 significantly depressed especially west of 100W. We are seeing the great swap where neutral water replaces the cooler water at the surface.
The flattening of the Isotherm Pattern is an indication  of ENSO Neutral just as the steepening of the pattern indicates La Nina or El Nino depending on where the slope shows the warm or cool pool to be. That flattening has not occurred yet to a great extent. What has been happening has been the depleting of the subsurface cool pool. 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.

February 13, 2017 Subsurface Temperatures.

There is now no surface cool water shown in this graphic. The Cool Event is over. We are not yet in a Warm Event but that appears to be in transit and may arrive soon.
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. 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 has been 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. At this point there seems to be no need to show the daily preliminary values of the SOI but we can work with the weekly values.

The 30 Day Average on February 13 was reported as -0.06 which is ENSO Neutral. The 90 Day Average was reported at +2.10 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 February early-month report from CPC/IRI and the mid-month model-based report from January

Here is the new February 9 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.

 February 9, 2017 CPC/IRI Tea Leaves Report.

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.

The forecast is for ENSO Neutral Through the summer and then it gets more interesting.

And here is the report from mid January.

January 19, 2017, 2016 Model Based ENSO Forecast

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 is an ENSO Neutral Value now with a warm bias and shooting higher rapidly this month. Looking ahead to next summer you see El Nino readings being the mean of the forecast ensemble but it is before the Spring Prediction Barrier which means we need to wait a few months until May [click here to understand why] 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.

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.

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).

Here is the discussion.

El Niño or ENSO-neutral for 2017

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral, with virtually all indicators close to their average values. In recent weeks, the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean has shown surface warming, and climate models suggest this warming is likely to continue during the southern autumn. In marked contrast to last year, western Pacific sub-surface temperatures are up to 5 °C warmer than at the same time last year, indicating La Niña-like conditions are unlikely in 2017.

As this is the time of year when ENSO and climate models have greatest variability, some caution must be taken when using recent conditions, such as central Pacific warming, to determine likely conditions in winter. Hence either neutral or El Niño are considered the most likely ENSO state for the southern winter and spring.

El Niño is often associated with below-average rainfall during the second half of the year across large parts of southern and inland eastern Australia. Daytime temperatures also tend to be above average over southern Australia.

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 so it is way too early to be predicting next winter.

The Discussion that goes with their new Nino 3.4 forecast has not yet been released. This is the prior discussion.

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

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 over and NOAA using the "toe in the water test" has recognized and acknowledged that on February 9, 2017. 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 the Spring Predictability Barrier or SPB which was explained earlier.

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.  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.(The Oroville California situation is covered in the body of this report).

Weather Research in the News

Nothing to report.

Global Warming in the News

ClimateGateIII Continues ((click to read)

I think this is a tempest in a teapot in the sense that the Warming continues but certain climate cycles cause a change in the percent of the heating that goes into oceans versus the atmosphere and temperatures right above land. So depending on what you measure you will find cycles in those measurements which may be useful or not depending on what who are attempting to measure. NOAA should have been more careful in their approach and the timing of the release of that report may have been politically related. But to me this does not seem like a major scandal.

There was a Climate Conference sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) February 5 - 10 in Santa Fe, New Mexico and I gave a presentation on the Climate of the Southwest on Southwest Climate on February 10 and we will publish my presentation converted into an article soon.

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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