We have Winter conditions in Alaska and the Northeast U.S. while there may be some daily temperature highs set in the Southwest. Australia doubles down on its El Nino forecast. The question of the day: Can an El Nino originate from Antarctica?
These are temperature anomalies not absolute temperatures but the warming seems to have originated in Antarctica. If you look over to the Maritime Continent north of Australia, one sees pretty much Neutral temperature water. So will we have our first Antarctica-originated Tropical El Nino? Just asking.....curious minds want to know. BTW you can see the fertile conditions for the Nor'easter impacting the U.S. Northeast in this graphic. Are the norms off? Is the seasonal fluctuation underestimated and thus resulting in artifact warm anomalies? Could we have an El Nino that is based on calibration error? Would anyone care?
Here is a prettied up graphic showing a four week average. It will not auto-update which is not important as a four week average changes very slowly anyway.
You can see very clearly that this looks like the beginning of a typical El Nino with warm water appearing offshore of Ecuador. However the next phase would be for the Easterlies to be impacted and decline and warm water from the Pacific Warm Pool to move east. But there is little it any warm water in the Pacific Warm Pool: take a look at Indonesia. And the Easterlies have strengthened. What we have is a very warm Southern Hemisphere Pacific Ocean. This is very strange. I have never heard of an El Nino fueled by warm water from Antarctica.
Now for some housekeeping information. For those who want the forecasts beyond three months, we recently reported on the February 16 NOAA 15-Month Forecast and compared the first nine months of the NOAA Outlook with that of JAMSTEC in a special Update that you can get to by clicking here. More recently we provide an Update on the possible El Nino this Winter that many meteorological models are forecasting. We think it is implausible and our report 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. We will of course publish a new 15 Month Update Report shortly after NOAA issues their update on March 16, 2017.
NOAA Cancels La Nina to Prepare for Phantom El Nino (Excerpts From the Discussion Released)
Published: March 9, 2017
El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion issued jointly by the Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society
ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active
Synopsis: ENSO-neutral conditions are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring 2017, with increasing chances for El Niño development into the fall.
ENSO-neutral conditions continued during February, with near-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the central equatorial Pacific and above-average SSTs in the eastern Pacific (Fig. 1). The latest weekly Niño index values were near zero in the Niño-4 and Niño-3.4 regions, and +0.4 and +2.2°C farther east in the Niño-3 and Niño-1+2 regions, respectively (Fig. 2). The upper-ocean heat content anomaly increased during February and was slightly positive when averaged across the central and eastern Pacific (Fig. 3), a reflection of generally above-average temperatures at depth (Fig. 4). Atmospheric convection remained suppressed over the central tropical Pacific and enhanced over the Maritime Continent (Fig. 5). The low-level easterly winds were slightly enhanced over the western tropical Pacific and were weaker than average over the eastern Pacific. Also, upper-level westerly winds were anomalously easterly over portions of the western and eastern Pacific. 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 early Northern Hemisphere summer (May-July; Fig. 6). However, some dynamical model forecasts, including the NCEP CFSv2, anticipate an onset of El Niño as soon as the late Northern Hemisphere spring (March-May 2017). Because of typically lower skill in forecasts made at this time of the year, and the lingering La Niña-like tropical convection patterns, the forecaster consensus favors ENSO-neutral during the spring (March-May) with a ~75% chance. Thereafter, there are increasing odds for El Niño toward the second half of 2017 (50-55% chance from approximately July-December). In summary, ENSO-neutral conditions are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring 2017, with increasing chances for El Niño development into the fall (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).
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 view of the past 24 hours provides a lot of insight as to what is happening.
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.
Tonight, Monday evening March 13, 2017, as I am looking at the above graphic, we see a major divide between Northern Tier and Southern Tier Patterns which has "phased" into the Nor'easter. We are not discussing that Nor'easter much tonight since for most it will be over by the time you read this report as it is a fast moving storm. .
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.
One sees the current jet stream above. Notice the entry into CONUS along the West Coast. Also notice the Split Jet Stream. Also notice the confluence of two or three different patterns on the East Coast which is impacting Winter Storm Stella.
This graphic provides a good indication of where the moisture is. It is a bit different than just moisture imagery as it is quantitative.
To turn the above into a forecasting tool click hereand you will have a dashboard for a short-term forecasting model.
Notice that right now we see moisture impacting the Northwest but not as significantly as in recent weeks. 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.
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.
The Aleutian Low is as I look at this Day 3 forecast is a split Low with central air pressure for the portion over Kamchatka being 976 hPa and the weaker portion in the Gulf of Alaska having a central pressure of 992 hPa. 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 is back with a fairly weak surface air pressure of 1024 hPa. Although weak, the pattern continues to direct storms from the Pacific into CONUS Northwest. It may even allow storms to enter CONUS further south i.e. California.
Notice the large Nova Scotia Low with a central pressure of 996 hPa. We noticed it being forecast for Day 3 over Hudson Bay last Monday. We thought that it might be too far north to impact the Great Lakes States. We were wrong.
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 Jet Stream Forecast
You can see that moisture is forecast to continue to stream into the Northern Tier. One no longer sees the Southern Branch of the Mid-Latitude Jet Stream and some forecast that the Split Stream may resume being a non-split Jet Stream which may have to do with the MJO. 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.
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.
Here is the seven-day cumulative precipitation forecast. More information is available here.
We see again a forecast for substantial precipitation along the Northern West Coast. There is also plenty of moisture in the Eastern Half of CONUS but the most intense precipitation is off-shore. However some recent updates have moved the higher precipitation inland a bit. The graphic shows the cumulative precipitation over a seven day period.
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.
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 deep trough impacting the East Coast. There is a Ridge of High Pressure for the Center of CONUS. A new trough is shown forming on Day 7 along the West Coast. That could signal a change in the dry Southwest.
Remember this is a forecast for Day 7. Note the 540 Thickness Line re the above discussion of thickness and snow likelihood.
This week it looks like the 540 line will impact extreme Northern New England.
Four- Week Outlook
Census Bureau Regions and Sub-Regions are not always the best way to describe weather patterns but I am showing this map as I may sometimes use their terminology to describe regions.
I am going to show the three-month MAM Outlook (for reference purposes), the Early Outlook for the single month of March, 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 MAM Temperature Outlook issued on February 16, 2017:
Here is the Updated Temperature Outlook for March issued on February 28, 2017
6 - 10 Day Temperature Outlook issued today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on March 13, 2017 was 4 out of 5)
8 - 14 Day Temperature Outlook issued today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on March 13, 2017 was 3 out of 5)
Looking further out.
Consolidation of 6 - 10, 8 - 14 and Experimental Week 3-4 Forecasts
(Interpreted on March 13, 2017
March 19 to March 27
March 25 to April 7
Alaska including the Panhandle and CONUS Northwest are cool. The Northeast is also cool. The Southern 2/3rd of CONUS starts warm but the warm anomaly tracks to the east and towards the end of the period we see the West Coast becoming cool. In between the large warm anomaly and the Northwest and Northeast cool anomalies, it is EC.
Alaska including the Panhandle and the Western half of CONUS are warm. There are two additional warm anomalies shown for CONUS: New Hampshire and Maine and South Florida. There is a lot of area indicated to be EC between the three CONUS anomalies. 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 MAM Precipitation Outlook issued on February 16, 2017
And here is the Updated Precipitation Outlook for March issued on February 28, 2017
6 - 10 Day Precipitation Outlook Issued Today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on March 13, 2017 was 4 out of 5)
8 - 14 Day Precipitation Outlook Issued Today (Note the NOAA Level of Confidence in the Forecast Released on March 13, 2013 was 3 out of 5)
Looking further out.
Consolidation of 6 - 10, 8 - 14, and Week 3-4 Forecasts
Interpreted on March 13, 2017
March 19 to March 27
March 25 to April 7, 2017
Alaska and the Panhandle are dry. CONUS starts with a dry Southern Tier and a wet or EC Northern Tier but gradually becomes mostly wet except for Florida. Between the wet and dry anomaly it is EC. There has been a change in the forecasted pattern today. It is less wet than recent forecasts and the dry area is further to the east.
Northern Alaska remains dry. CONUS has three anomalies. The Southwest is dry but the anomaly is shifted to the west and shrinks. Southern Florida is wet. There is a large wet anomaly that stretches from Montana to New England and which extends down to the Texas border and on east. But within the wet anomaly, the Greater Great Lakes Area is EC. And between the wet and dry extreme Southwest, it is also 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.
Here is the NOAA discussion released today March 13, 2017.
6-10 DAY OUTLOOK FOR MAR 19 - 23 2017
TODAYS ENSEMBLE MEAN SOLUTIONS ARE IN BASICALLY GOOD AGREEMENT ON THE 500-HPA FLOW PATTERN EXPECTED OVER MUCH OF THE FORECAST DOMAIN. TROUGHS ARE ANTICIPATED OFF THE EAST COAST, APPROACHING THE WEST COAST, AND OVER ALASKA, WHILE RIDGES ARE FORECAST OVER THE ALEUTIANS/BERING SEA AND OVER THE WEST-CENTRAL CONUS EXTENDING NORTHWESTWARD TO WESTERN CANADA. THE ENSEMBLE SPAGHETTI CHARTS GENERALLY INDICATE LOW TO MODERATE SPREAD, ALTHOUGH SOMEWHAT LARGER SPREAD IS SEEN AMONG THE CANADIAN ENSEMBLE MEMBERS. THE PNA INDEX WHICH RECENTLY HAS BEEN WEAKLY NEGATIVE IS FORECAST TO BECOME POSITIVE BY DAY 7 AND REMAIN WEAKLY POSITIVE THROUGH DAY 14. THE AO INDEX WHICH RECENTLY HAS BEEN POSITIVE IS FORECAST TO BECOME STRONGLY POSITIVE BY DAY 7, BE NEAR ZERO AT DAY 10, AND REMAIN NEAR ZERO AT DAY 14. TODAYS 500-HPA BLEND CHART DEPICT NEAR TO BELOW NORMAL HEIGHTS OVER THE NORTHEASTERN AND WESTERN CONUS, AND ALASKA, WHILE NEAR TO ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS ARE ANTICIPATED OVER THE REMAINDER OF THE CONUS.
BELOW NORMAL HEIGHTS AND ANOMALOUS NORTHWESTERLY FLOW ENHANCE PROBABILITIES FOR BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR PARTS OF THE NORTHEAST CONUS. ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS TILT THE ODDS TO ABOVE NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MUCH OF THE CENTRAL U.S. BELOW NORMAL HEIGHTS FAVORS BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MOST OF ALASKA AND PARTS OF THE NORTHWESTERN CONUS. THE EXPECTATION OF SOUTHWESTERLY ANOMALOUS FLOW OFFSET BY THE LIKELIHOOD OF CLOUDS AND PRECIPITATION ENHANCES PROBABILITIES FOR NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR COASTAL SECTIONS OF CALIFORNIA.
SUBSIDENCE WEST OF THE TROUGH AXIS EXPECTED TO BE OFF THE EAST COAST TILTS THE ODDS TO BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE EAST COAST. ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS AND/OR ANOMALOUS NORTHEASTERLY FLOW FAVORS BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MUCH OF THE SOUTHERN CONUS FROM THE SOUTHERN PLAINS EASTWARD ALONG THE GULF COAST. TROUGH ENERGY NEARING THE WEST COAST AND/OR ANOMALOUS SOUTHWESTERLY FLOW ENHANCE PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MUCH OF THE WESTERN AND NORTH-CENTRAL CONUS. ANOMALOUS NORTHERLY FLOW AND SUBSIDENCE TILT THE ODDS TO BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MUCH OF ALASKA, ESPECIALLY WESTERN PORTIONS OF THE STATE.
FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 6-10 DAY PERIOD: ABOVE AVERAGE, 4 OUT OF 5, DUE TO GOOD AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE MODEL SOLUTIONS AND AMONG THE FORECAST TOOLS.
8-14 DAY OUTLOOK FOR MAR 21 - 27 2017
DURING WEEK-2 THE OVERALL FLOW PATTERN IS EXPECTED TO UNDERGO A SLOW PROGRESSION AND DEAMPLIFICATION AS HEIGHTS SLOWLY RISE OVER THE NORTHEASTERN CONUS. TROUGHS ARE FORECAST OVER THE NORTHEAST CONUS AND THE GULF OF ALASKA EXTENDING SOUTHWARD ALONG THE U.S. WEST COAST, WHILE A RIDGE IS EXPECTED OVER THE WEST-CENTRAL CONUS EXTENDING NORTHWESTWARD TO WESTERN CANADA. A MOSTLY ZONAL FLOW PATTERN IS ANTICIPATED ACROSS THE SOUTHERN CONUS. THE ENSEMBLE SPAGHETTI CHARTS GENERALLY INDICATE MODERATE SPREAD ACROSS MOST OF THE FORECAST DOMAIN. THE 500-HPA BLENDED HEIGHT CHART INDICATES NEAR TO BELOW NORMAL HEIGHTS OVER THE WESTERN ALEUTIANS, MAINE, AND PARTS OF THE WESTERN CONUS, AND NEAR TO ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS OVER THE REMAINDER OF THE FORECAST DOMAIN.
WITH THE EXCEPTION OF ALASKA, AREAS THAT ARE FORECAST TO HAVE NEAR TO BELOW (ABOVE) NORMAL HEIGHTS ROUGHLY CORRESPOND TO AREAS OF ENHANCED PROBABILITIES FOR NEAR TO BELOW (ABOVE) NORMAL TEMPERATURES. FOR ALASKA, ANOMALOUS NORTHERLY FLOW TILTS THE ODDS TO BELOW NORMAL TEMPERATURES FOR MUCH OF WESTERN AND CENTRAL MAINLAND ALASKA.
ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS FAVOR BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR THE SOUTHEAST CONUS AND SOUTHERN PORTIONS OF THE SOUTHERN PLAINS. ANOMALOUS WESTERLY FLOW TILTS THE ODDS TO BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR PARTS OF MAINE. THE TROUGH NEAR THE WEST COAST ENHANCES PROBABILITIES FOR ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MUCH OF THE WESTERN CONUS, ESPECIALLY CALIFORNIA. ANOMALOUS SOUTHERLY FLOW AND A GENERALLY ZONAL FLOW PATTERN AT MID-LEVELS TILT THE ODDS TO ABOVE MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR PARTS OF THE NORTHERN AND CENTRAL CONUS. ABOVE NORMAL HEIGHTS AND/OR ANOMALOUS NORTHERLY FLOW FAVORS BELOW MEDIAN PRECIPITATION FOR MUCH OF ALASKA.
FORECAST CONFIDENCE FOR THE 8-14 DAY PERIOD IS: AVERAGE, 3 OUT OF 5, DUE TO FAIRLY GOOD AGREEMENT AMONG THE ENSEMBLE MEAN SOLUTIONS OFFSET BY THE EXPECTATION OF MOSTLY SMALL MAGNITUDE HEIGHT ANOMALIES.
THE NEXT SET OF LONG-LEAD MONTHLY AND SEASONAL OUTLOOKS WILL BE RELEASED ON MARCH 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.
Mar 4, 1960
Mar 19, 1967
Mar 22, 1971
Mar 14, 1997
Just before the MegaNino
Mar 25, 2001
Mar 20, 2004
Mar 4, 2007
Right after an El Nino
(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 March 4 to March 25 which is 21 days which is a very tight spread. I have not calculated the centroid of this distribution which would be the better way to look at things but the midpoint, which is a lot easier to calculate, is about March 15. These analogs are centered on 3 days and 4 days ago (March 8 or March 9). So the analogs could be considered to be not in sync with the calendar meaning that we will be getting weather that we would normally get a week later than now. Since we are getting late snows this is a bit strange. But most of CONUS is warm. So that might explain it.
There are zero El Nino Analogs, four ENSO Neutral Analogs and three La Nina analogs. Looks like the analogs are suggesting that ENSO Neutral to La Nina Conditions apply. The phases of the ocean cycles of the analogs do not point clearly to any particular McCabe Condition but seem to favor McCabe B and C. They are opposites so this makes me wary about the level of confidence one should place on the 6 - 14 Day Forecast. .
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.
Very Little Drought. Southern Tier and Northern Tier from Dakotas East Wet
More wet than dry but Great Plains Dry
Northern Tier and Mid-Atlantic Drought
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 March 4, 2017
The temperature anomaly pattern has not changed. The precipitation pattern have become less extreme. Remember this is a 30 day average so seven older dates are replaced with seven newer dates.
The temperature anomaly pattern remains unchanged. The precipitation pattern is a bit muted but one can still still where the fire risk has been. Remember this is a 30 day average so seven recent days are added and seven more distant days are removed. Thus the average changes slowly.
B. Beyond Alaska and CONUS Let's Look at the World which of Course also includes Alaska and CONUS
I will be including the above graphic regularly as it really helps with understanding why things are happening the way they are.
Notice that below the map there is a tabulation of magnitude of the anomalies by region. That is a large number for the Arctic: 3.54C
This graphic is actuals not anomalies. Notice the demarcation areas between wet and dry areas. The Southern Hemisphere is quite wet and the Northern Hemisphere is quite dry. CONUS, North Africa and Asia are particularly uniformly dry and it looks like Australia and South Africa and Southern South America want to join in.
Additional Maps showing different weather variables can be found here.
Near Term (Currently Set for Day 3 but the reader can change that)
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
Notice how Central South America continues to be forecast to be quite wet.
It is projected to be hot in India and much of Africa and Australia.
Looking Out a Few Months
Here is the new precipitation forecast from Queensland Australia:
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 change to a dry CONUS and the overall slightly dry orientation of the forecast except for much of Southern Africa.
JAMSTEC issued their ENSO forecasts and climate maps on February 14. We published a special Update Report on Saturday Night February 18 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. . .
Remember this discussion is all about anomalies not absolute temperatures so it is deviation from seasonal norms.
The Tropical Pacific is NEUTRAL. The waters off of South America are warm and expanding. This looks like how an El Nino originates.
The cool anomaly needed to have PDO+ is there but the horseshoe shaped warm anomaly around it is not there. 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 +0.55 and now January revised to 0.13 and February just reported at +0.08. The above reading for February is PDO Positive but not by much. Here is the full list of PDO values.
The Gulf of Mexico is quite warm especially to the west. The waters off of North American are warm. The list of Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) values can be found here.
The Black Sea, Caspian Sea and the Mediterranean are neutral.
The waters at mid-latitude East of South America are now warm. The big story is the warm South Pacific. Is this a new flavor of El Nino?
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 discussion is simply the current deviation from climatology and the graphic below shows the four week change in the deviation from climatology. So it is a bit like the graphic above and second below are the first and second derivatives of the sea surface temperature(SST) but not exactly. I take it a step further by comparing this week's version of the graphic below to the prior week and report on the differences below.the graphic.
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 the warming along the Equator in the Eastern Pacific has reversed into a cooling trend except north of the Equator where the trend is warming (remember warming as a change in an anomaly can mean warmer or less cool). We remain in full ENSO Neutral perhaps headed according to some forecast models 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 Atlantic equivalent to ENSO which gets very little attention has also stabilized. The Western Pacific at low latitudes is mostly cooling which is strange and at higher Northern latitudes the warming has become cooling. I do not see a PDO pattern at all. The warming east of Japan has moderated. At the southern end of South America the warm anomalies continue. South and east of Africa the cool anomaly has strengthened.The entire Western Indian Ocean is cooling which is consistent with IOD Neutral. The waters surrounding Australia are not showing a lot of change. 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 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 as I look at this on March 13 for what is shown as Week Two, the period March 15, 2017 to March 21, 2017, has dry conditions* for Southern Africa, wet conditions* for Western Equatorial South America* and mostly wet conditions* for the Maritime Continent and Northern 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.
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.Also you can see the break in the action of Pacific Storms headed east. 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.
Location Bar for Nino 3.4 Area Above and Below
Notice that part of what is left of the 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. But the warm water to the east if north of the Equator would be an even stronger reason to conclude that an El Nino Modoki is developing. But it is south of the Equator so this does not fit the Modoki model for origination of an El Nino.
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. NOW i AM PUTTING THEM BACK IN. 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. I probably have more to do but one step at a time.
Comparing Now to May 23, 2016
Subareas of the Anomaly
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 below show the Extent of El Nino Impact on the Equator
+0.5C to +1C
These Rows Below Show the Extent of ENSO Neutral Impacts on the Equator
0.5C or cooler Anomaly
0C or cooler Anomaly
These Rows Below Show the Extent of the La Nina Impacts on the Equator
-0.5C or cooler
-1C or cooler Anomaly
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 35 degrees of coverage. This means there is 50 - 35 or 15 degrees of ENSO Neutral Warm Bias water from 135W 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 0 degrees of water anomalies cool enough to be a La Nina. Subtracting 0 degrees from the 50 degrees you end up with 50 degrees of ENSO Neutral and 0 degrees of water cool enough to qualify as La Nina i.e. temperature anomalies more negative than -0.5C. A new factor is we now begin to see water that is warmer (anomaly) than +0.5C which is El Nino 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.
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 March 13, in the afternoon working from the March 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
A. 170W to 160W
B. 160W to 150W
C. 150W to 140W
D. 140W to 130W
E. 130W to 120W
Total divided by five i.e. the Daily Nino 3.4 Index
(+0.8)/5 = +0.2
(+1.2)/5 = +0.2
My estimate of the daily Nino 3.4 SST anomaly is again +0.2 which is an ENSO Neutral value but on the El Nino side of . NOAA has reported the weekly Nino 3.4 to be an ENSO Neutral value at -0.2 which is on the La Nina side of Neutral..The cool anomaly has been moving around and NOAA reports a weekly value and I report an estimate of the daily value so that might explain the difference.
Nino 4.0 is also reported cooler than last week at -0.3.. Nino 3 is reported the same as last week at 0.4. Nino 1 + 2 which extends from the Equator south rather than being centered on the Equator is reported almost the same as last week at at +2.1 which is an astoundingly high value. If it extended into Nino 3.4 it would represent a strong El Nino. It is worth mentioning that many Asian Meteorological Agencies work with Nino 3.0 rather than Nino 3.4 in which case we would be close to having El Nino Conditions with respect to Ocean Temperatures.
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.
This is probably the best place to express the thought that 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.
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.
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 has vanished with no blue in the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area), some white and now quite a bit of light yellow (still ENSO Neutral but on the warm side) and El Nino-ish dark yellows off and on from 155W east and browns tending towards reds from 100W east. However this lukewarm pattern has weakened since last week. 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 pattern. But week to week there have been no change. If anything the pattern is slightly more La Nina-ish.
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. And now that we are back tracking a possible El Nino it is the graphic of choice.
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. If you look from the bottom of the graphic up you can see that any La Nina conditions ended in December. There is not much change from the prior week except for the small warm blip at about 125W. But what I am really looking for is in the lefthand portion of the graphic: the Pacific Warm Pool and I don't see much change. Reds are what is needed for an El Nino.
Let us look in more detail at the Equatorial Water Temperatures.
We are now going to 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 This graphic provides both a summary perspective and a history (small images on the right).
Usually we use this to track Kelvin Waves but you can see the progression of warm water streaming east but not very much of it. This may have been a Kelvin Wave it is not clear but the consensus now is that yes it was. The reason this is important is what is called the Bjerknes Feedback Mechanism which you can read about here. It is an intricate set of interactions which determines the ENSO Cycle. Of course Jacob Bjerknes the son of the world renowned Norwegian meteorologist Vilhelm Bjerknes developed his theories in the sixties. There have been many modifications/improvements in his theories since then and this process continues. You can track the history of this graphic on the right. I think it shows the prior week and then every other week before then. There has not been much change.
Now for a more detailed look. Notice by the date of the graphic (dated March 4, 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.
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 175W to 155W so only 15 degrees of this is within the Nino 3.4 Measurement Area and it is warming and probably will soon not be shown as sub -0.5C. . On the other hand warm water now extends from the Coast of Ecuador to 110W and in large pockets out to 145W. Subsurface Temperature Anomalies: The cool water is almost all gone. Notice the warm water at depth almost everywhere extending to the coast of Ecuador with very warm water at 160E to 170W and to a lesser extent from 130W to 120W.
The bottom half of the graphic (Absolute Values which highlights the Thermocline) is now more useful as we track the transition to and ENSO Cool Event which may possibly become and El Nino.
It shows the thermocline between warm and cool water. The 28C Isotherm is now located at the 175E. 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 175W 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 and also ENSO Neutral but it appears to be slowly changing. The 25C isotherm now extends all to the way to Ecuador. The 20C Isotherm is being increasingly depressed by warm water all the way to Ecuador. We are seeing the great swap where neutral and even warm 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 occurred. At this point, we have gone to ENSO Neutral but not El Nino although the trend is towards an El Nino.
Here are the above graphics as a time sequence animation. You may have to click on them to get the animation going.
The graphic which used to appear hear seems unnecessary now and was always redundant so I have dropped it for the time being.
And now Let us look at the Atmosphere.
Low-Level Wind Anomalies near the Equator
Here are the low-level wind anomalies.
And now the Outgoing Longwave Radiation Anomalies which tells us where convection has been taking place.
You can see that the Coast of Ecuador is wet and it is wet in the India Ocean.
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.
Current SOI Readings
The 30 Day Average on March 13 was reported as -5.84 which is ENSO Neutral but close to signaling El Nino. The 90 Day Average was reported at -0.13 little changed from last week.and 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 with a slight Warm Event bias.It is mostly the gyrations of the MJO.
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 February 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
MJO Active Phase
MJO Inactive Phase
Relationship of MJO and ENSO
Eastern Pacific Easterlies
Part of Decay Process
Western Pacific Westerlies
May Create or Stimulate the Onset of El Nino via Kelvin Waves
Part of Decay Process
MJO Active Phase
Less likely and weak
Retards development of a new La Nina
Stimulates the Jet Stream
MJO Inactive Phase
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 both the March early-month report and the prior February mid-month model-based report from CPC/IRI I am showing both as it is a way of seeing he trend in forecasts even though the methodology of the two forecasts are not identical. .
Here is what I call the "Tea Leaves Report" issued on March 9, 2017. I call it the Tea Leaves Report as it is not clear how this report is prepared as it is some combination of model results and opinions of meteorologists and it is just not possible to really know how this report is prepared.
it came with this brief discussion.
During early March 2017 the tropical Pacific SST anomaly was mainly close to 0.0C, in the ENSO-neutral range, but warmer than average SST was observed in the eastern one-third of the basin. Although most of the atmospheric variables across the tropical Pacific are now approximately ENSO-neutral, the pattern of cloudiness and rainfall in the central and western tropical Pacific remains indicative of a weak La Niña condition. The collection of ENSO prediction models indicates SSTs are likely to remain neutral through May 2017, with an increasing chance for El Niño development later in the year.
But this report is issued in conjunction with the ENSO Status Monthly Update and I provided their Diagnostic Discussion at the beginning of my weekly report.
Here is the prior report from mid February.
There is surprisingly little change especially since the two reports are three weeks apart.
Here is the daily PDF and Spread Corrected version of the NOAA CFSv2 Forecast Model.
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. Notice the wide spread among forecast member into the summer. But we clearly are forecast to be in ENSO Neutral for the rest of this Winter. The question is the coming summer and next winter.
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. I do not need to draw in the lines for you to see that the Nino 3.4 Index as reported by CDAS has moved above the 0C line and is now reporting a warm anomaly.
Forecasts from Other Meteorological Agencies.
Here is the Nino 3.4 report from the Australian BOM (it updates every two weeks)
Discussion (notice their threshold criteria are different from NOAA).
El Niño WATCH: six of eight models suggest El Niño by July
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is neutral. However, model outlooks and recent warming in the Pacific Ocean mean there is an increased chance of El Niño forming later this year. The Bureau's ENSO Outlook is currently at El Niño WATCH, which means the likelihood of El Niño forming this year is around double the average chance at 50%.
Most atmospheric and oceanic indictors of ENSO are currently neutral. However, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the eastern Pacific Ocean have warmed since the start of the year, and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has been trending downwards. While these are fairly typical changes in the lead up to El Niño, trade winds and cloudiness have not shown any significant shift away from neutral.
All eight international models surveyed by the Bureau show steady warming of the central tropical Pacific Ocean over the next six months. Six models suggest El Niño thresholds may be reached by July 2017. However, some caution must be taken, as models have lower accuracy when forecasting through the autumn months than at other times of the year.
El Niño is often, but not always, associated with below average winter–spring rainfall over eastern Australia and warmer than average winter–spring maximum temperatures over the southern half of Australia.Here is the recently released JAMSTEC Nino 3.4 Forecast.
Based on the Nino 3.4 projection, JAMSTEC is saying the Cool Event did not meet the criteria to have been declared a La Nina as was done by NOAA: Nino 3.4 being colder than -0.5 and the duration of being under -0.5 was not sufficient to qualify as a La Nina.
You can clearly see that the Nino 3.4 reading did not get down to -0.5C until July and by sometime in November was warmer than -0.5C. So there were less than five months of water cool enough to quality as meeting the surface water temperature criteria. The NOAA criteria for calling a La Nina involves two parts one of which is the Nino 3.4 reading which must be -0.5C or cooler for five consecutive three month averages. In theory five months might make that happen if the first month spiked down and the last month was also way down but usually one needs six or seven months to meet that criteria. You do not see that in the JAMSTEC data but NOAA has reported five consecutive three month averages that are -0.5C or lower. How is that explained? I really wonder about that.
JAMSTEC is raising the possibility of an El Nino for the following winter. But it is too soon to make that prediction and the prior forecast last month suggested that such a warm event would be too short to qualify as an El Nino. That is not the case with the current forecast but forecasts in February are unreliable.
The Discussion that goes with their Nino 3.4 forecast has just been released. Notice the suggestion that we might be having a Pacific Climate Shift to PDO Positive.
Feb. 18, 2017 Prediction from 1st Feb., 2017
ENSO forecast: The SINTEX-F now clearly predicts an El Niño event from this coming summer. This 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. If this happens, such natural climate variability may double the global warming impact as we observed during the period from 1976 through 1998.
Indian Ocean forecast:
Occurrence of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole is also clearly predicted; almost all ensemble members are suggesting the evolution in summer and the height in fall. We may observe co-occurrence of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole and an El Niño in the latter half of 2017; this is just as in 1997 and 2015.
On a seasonal scale, most part of the globe will experience a warmer-than-normal condition, while some parts of western Canada and northern Brazil will experience a colder-than-normal condition in the boreal spring. In the boreal summer, most parts of the globe will experience a hotter-than-normal condition. On the other hand, some parts of central Russia, northern China, and northern Australia will experience a cooler-than-normal condition.
According to the seasonally averaged rainfall prediction, a wetter-than-normal condition is predicted for eastern part of Brazil, northeastern part of China, and eastern part of southern Africa during the boreal spring, whereas most parts of southeastern China, Indonesia, and Europe will experience a drier condition during the boreal spring. In the boreal summer, most parts of Indonesia, western India, and Australia will experience a drier-than-normal condition, due to the El Niño and the positive Indian Ocean Dipole. Most parts of Japan will be in a warmer and wetter-than-normal condition in the boreal spring (except for less rain expected in March). In boreal summer, we expect a cooler (hotter)-than-normal condition in the northern (western) part. Since the Bonin high may not be matured in summer due to expected El Niño, we expect rather abnormal summer conditions particularly in the northern part. However, we also expect that the El Niño influences may be partly canceled mostly in the western part due to development of the positive Indian Ocean Dipole.
Indian Ocean IOD (It updates every two weeks)
The IOD Forecast is indirectly related to ENSO but in a complex way.
Indian Ocean Dipole outlooks
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is neutral. The weekly index value to 12 March was −0.14 °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.
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 but for the convenience of the reader I am repeating the link.
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.
JAMSTEC has raised the possibility of a Climate Shift in the Pacific and the implications of this are discussed in a prior GEI Weather and Climate Report which you can access by clicking here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
J FM 1951
*The GEI Weather and Climate Report does not accept this as a legitimate La Nina. It is not unusual for different Meteorological Agencies to maintain different lists of El Ninos and La Ninas. This is usually because the criteria for classification differ slightly. Obviously the GEI Weather and Climate Report has no standing but nevertheless for any analysis we do, we will either not include or asterisk this La Nina to indicate that NOAA has it on their list and we consider that to be Fake News. The alternative is to conclude that the other Meteorological Agencies are not able to measuring things correctly. .
ONI Recent History
The Dec/Jan/Feb preliminary has just come out as -0.4. Looks like NOAA chickened out re extending their farcical phony ONI record into the first three months of 2017.
The full history of the ONI readings can be found here. The MEI index readings can be found here.
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