El Niño Watch issued by NOAA

EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION

issued by CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society,  8 May 2014

ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Watch

Synopsis: Chance of El Niño increases during the remainder of the year, exceeding 65% during summer.

2014_elnino

ENSO-neutral continued during April 2014, but with above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) developing over much of the eastern tropical Pacific as well as persisting near the International Date Line (Fig. 1).

The weekly SST indices were near to slightly above average and increasing in the Niño1+2, Niño3 and Niño3.4 regions, and above average in the Niño4 region (Fig. 2).

The downwelling phase of a strong oceanic Kelvin wave that began in January greatly increased the oceanic heat content during March and April (Fig. 3),

and produced large positive subsurface temperature anomalies across the central and eastern Pacific (Fig. 4).

The upper portion of these subsurface anomalies reached the sea surface, warming the waters east of 125oW longitude. Also during April, weak low-level westerly wind anomalies were observed over the far western Pacific, while upper-level easterly anomalies occurred over much of the Pacific. Convection was enhanced over the west-central equatorial Pacific (Fig. 5).

These atmospheric and oceanic conditions collectively indicate a continued evolution toward El Niño.

The model predictions of ENSO for this summer and beyond are indicating an increased likelihood of El Niño compared with those from last month. Most of the models indicate that ENSO-neutral (Niño-3.4 index between -0.5oC and 0.5oC) will persist through part of the remainder of the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014 (Fig. 6),

most likely transitioning to El Niño during the summer. There remains uncertainty as to exactly when El Niño will develop and an even greater uncertainty as to how strong it may become. This uncertainty is related to the inherently lower forecast skill of the models for forecasts made in the spring. While ENSO-neutral is favored for Northern Hemisphere spring, the chance of El Niño increases during the remainder of the year, exceeding 65% during the summer (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome).

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 for the evolution of El Niño/La Niña are updated monthly in the Forecast Forum section of CPC’s Climate Diagnostics Bulletin. The next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion is scheduled for 5 June 2014.

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58 thoughts on “El Niño Watch issued by NOAA

  1. Looks like the El Nino is dissipating already… Learning from Joe B, the current climatic conditions make a rather large El Nino almost impossible imho.

    Personally i can’t see another el nino ever reaching the heights of 1998. Based on the fact that 1998 was almost the peak of Soar, and the combined warm phase of ALL natural oceanic cycles… I personally think we will struggle to reach those global temperature heights again in most of our lifetimes.

    The climate models are nearly all initialized in the 1990’s and i’d hazard a guess that they will continue to fail with their predictions……. due to the fact that all the natural cycles were in their warm mode then.

    The next decade will be a busted flush for AGW / CAGW and the natural cooling processes will over run the global temperatures…

  2. I don’t know. Maybe the Krakenino will rise, and devastate the Pause, and bring woe to the unbeliever. But even if it does, I don’t see how that fulfils the Prophecies as laid out by the GCMs.

  3. It will be interesting to see if they have the same predictive ability as for the 2013 hurricane season.
    May 23, 2013
    Hurricane Sandy as seen from NOAA’s GOES-13

    Hurricane Sandy as seen from NOAA’s GOES-13 satellite on October 28, 2012.

    Download here (Credit:NOAA/NASA)

    In its 2013 Atlantic hurricane season outlook issued today, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an active or extremely active season this year.

    [No link? Mod]

  4. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/#tabs=SOI

    The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) currently remains neutral. The latest approximate 30-day SOI value to 4 May 2014 is +5.2.

    Sustained positive values of the SOI above +8 may indicate a La Niña event, while sustained negative values below −8 may indicate an El Niño event. Values of between about +8 and −8 generally indicate neutral conditions.

  5. Anthony, I’m almost done with a post about the current status of the El Nino evolution. I’ll try to complete it tonight.

    Regards

  6. Thanks, Anthony. We keep observing ENSO and its consequences.
    I have updated my climate and meteorology pages.
    Some sort of El Niño seems to be coming. How soon? How strong? Lasting for how long?

  7. Sooooo, does anyone think the Weather Channel will name the next El Nino like they are naming every other weather event?

    I vote for Gojira!

    sarc/

  8. Is it my imagination, or does the bar chart show the CPC/IRI El-Nino consensus faltering?

  9. It looks like the consensus “probabilities” are about twice as high as the climatological probabilities. Do they [say] why the consensus downweights the statistical evidence so much? What exactly they think the liabilities in the statistical evidence are?

  10. Oh good. We can finally quit using that messy “climate disruption” and go back to good old “global warming”.

  11. Figure 6 looks like it came from the IPCC. Notice the Mar. Obs and the “Predictions” ! No skill, no sensitivity and no worry.

    Ha ha
    :-)

  12. ossqss says:

    May 8, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Sooooo, does anyone think the Weather Channel will name the next El Nino like they are naming every other weather event?

    I vote for Gojira!

    sarc/

    =======================================
    I vote for Godzilla ………… or Gamera!!

  13. Not too surprising as ENSO is a harmonic oscillation of ocean water, sloshing back and forth with a period of five years in the equatorial Pacific. External conditions can occasionally stretch or compress this frequency but it always returns to its resonant value, even as far back as the early nineteenth century. The latest disturbance to it was by the super El Nino of 1998 that delivered much more warm water across the ocean than ENSO is normally capable of supplying. The source of that extra warm water has never been determined because there is a lack of understanding of what is going on. Thanks to this extra warm water we got a short step warming in 1999 that raised global temperature by a third of a degree and then stopped. This is the only real warming within the last 34 years. This, and not any greenhouse effect, makes all twenty-first century years warmer than preceding twentieth century was (exception: 1998). As for the coming El Nino, it is pretty much as expected since the last one in the current series happened in 2010. A five year period would put it at 2015 and their water temperature predictions are not far off of that.

  14. Looking forward to Bob Tisdale’s post…
    I do not think it will be a strong Nino either..

  15. John Bills says:
    May 8, 2014 at 8:32 am

    http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/#tabs=SOI

    The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) currently remains neutral. The latest approximate 30-day SOI value to 4 May 2014 is +5.2.
    ————————-
    Looking at the daily numbers it Isn’t going stay positive for much longer. Daily has been negative for the last 10 days and significantly so for the last 5 days. 90 day average is in a negative trend.

    http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/seasonalclimateoutlook/southernoscillationindex/30daysoivalues/

    Going to be interesting to watch how it develops (or not) from now on.

  16. “Forecasts for the evolution of El Niño/La Niña are updated monthly in the Forecast Forum section of CPC’s Climate Diagnostics Bulletin.”

    Question:
    How are these forecasts useful? I can presume there maybe some implications derived from the monitoring and forecasting which provide some assistance to some policy making or decisions somewhere but is that really the case or not?

    Call me a cynic because I wonder if it is merely interesting and nice to know but falls short of any application.

  17. Re Green Sand and John Bills, The SOI as you probably know is an index; a rather complicated formula using the pressure differential between Tahiti and Darwin. The general idea though is to see how much of a push to the west the prevailing trades have; so with that only in mind a simple look at the two barometric pressures will help. By mid May weather models (not climate) show a weak Low over Darwin and a ridge over Tahiti; with the pressures higher over Tahiti than Darwin. In fact by the end of next week the trades will be fresh in that latitude band, with a mean wind of about 20kts from the East. Now this could happen even if the two barometric pressures are equal because it’s very common to have a polar dip in the isobars just east of Australia which would create the pressure differential and thus the wind. For that reason the SOI is only one indicator of many. Climatologists are putting a lot of weight on Nino 3.4 or SST in the eastern pacific. In my view that’s wrong; we need to look at ALL the indicators. And pay attention to the oft quoted statement that projections in the austral fall are often faulty; its a transition period.

  18. Some recent animations.

    Trade Winds looking more El Nino-like now.

    This is the best predictor in the short-term of where the ENSO is going in the next few months.

  19. How much heat is in each layer as things calm and the warm layer sits on top? And how much of that heat will then be evaporated away and into the thunder-stormed higher atmosphere before the Trade winds begin to blow any left over warm water all back towards the Far East countries?

  20. The first chart – bar chart above Fig 1 – does that not show approx equal chances for El Nino and La Nina ? The red and blue lines are so close.

  21. One thing I want to point out for those who may not be used to these graphs, anomalies are temperatures changes from the climate average for that spot. That’s why the red grows redder as the Kelvin wave slides East towards the North American equatorial West Coast. The water itself is not getting warmer, it is just warmer relative to the usual temperature for that spot along the equator.

  22. Steve, there are several applications related to these conditions, including ocean travel, fishing industry, and precipitation patterns that pose possible overly wet or dry conditions that can be prepared for. For example, most farmers I meet use this information to their advantage. Our own state of Oregon produces an El Nino forecast that is specific for agricultural purposes.

  23. Weather Dave says:
    May 8, 2014 at 11:32 am

    ……By mid May weather models (not climate) show a weak Low over Darwin and a ridge over Tahiti; with the pressures higher over Tahiti than Darwin……
    ————————————-
    Many thanks for the forecast info, will keep a “weather eye” on it! I haven’t been looking any further ahead than the daily numbers.
    I agree there are many indicators to take into account and they all move in “mysterious” ways:-)
    One of which is OLR:-

    In the end only time will tell.

  24. ossqss says:
    May 8, 2014 at 9:09 am
    “Sooooo, does anyone think the Weather Channel will name the next El Nino like they are naming every other weather event? I vote for Gojira! ”
    ============================================================================
    I would suggest “Sergio”.

  25. “I don’t know. Maybe the Krakenino will rise, and devastate the Pause, and bring woe to the unbeliever. But even if it does, I don’t see how that fulfils the Prophecies as laid out by the GCMs.”

    pretty simple. The GCMs dont get the timing of El Nino correct. That means
    when we are in La Nina conditions they overestimate the warming and in El Nino they will
    underestimate.

    Over a long period these will balance out.

    simple.

  26. Not that a blockbuster El Nino would be a new thing (those 1790s in Sydney!), but if the approaching El Nino turns out to be no big deal the climatariat will simply change the subject. They’re good at that, and they have the great Herd of Independent Minds in the media and academia to help.

    Remember that record breaking temp on the way for NZ? The one that didn’t actually happen, not even close? What about Australia’s cyclone cataclysm from a few weeks back? The one that caused some flooding up north and whose name they’ve forgotten everywhere else?

    The trick seems to be to treat prediction as sensational reality and reality as so-last-week. Look, if these people ever achieve the impossible, namely, a stable climate, they’ll be complaining about an “eerie sameness” or “unsettling monotony” – for which they’ll blame Anthony Watts if they can’t find a suitable Bush.

  27. From TomR,Worc,MA,USA on May 8, 2014 at 10:00 am:

    ossqss says:
    [...]
    I vote for Gojira!
    sarc/

    =======================================
    I vote for Godzilla ………… or Gamera!!

    Gonorrhea!

    A strange unnatural-seeming warmth the accompanies the release of water, that arises from the motion of bodies predominantly composed of water…

    Which many people will never know exists unless an authority informs them of it, and then still might not accept…

    And will believe it just goes away instead of the results spreading out and distributing throughout the system…

    And will think it’s gone for good until the ugly head arises again…

  28. Steven Mosher says:
    May 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    pretty simple. The GCMs dont get the timing of El Nino correct. That means
    when we are in La Nina conditions they overestimate the warming and in El Nino they will
    underestimate.

    Over a long period these will balance out.

    simple.

    Thanks Steven. I’ve never sorted this out, what with all the spagetti graphs and multimodel means that obscure things; do the models generally show warming in el Nino spurts? This is what I meant by not fulfilling the prophesy.

  29. Skeptikal says: “If you predict an El Nino for long enough, then eventually you’ll be right.” Precisely my thoughts. But my sentiments differ. Knowing how desperately California needs moisture, especially winter snows, I hope the weak one in the offing develops next winter. The moisture and heating/cooling distributions throughout the Northern Hempishere could use some re-arranging.

  30. an El Nino question popped into my head the other day, and this may be the place to get it answered: how does the formation of Eastern Pacific hurricanes off the coast of Mexico & the Central American coasts affect the formation/strength or lack thereof of an El Nino?

    since hurricanes suck heat out of the ocean, i was wondering if there was any relationship between the two events, either more hurricanes during an El Nino, since there would be more warm water to draw from or, conversely, if hurricanes could stunt an El Nino by whisking away the heat before it could head west.

    http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/?epac

    as for what’s coming in the next few months, i don’t have a crystal ball, but i can say that the weather in my part of SoCal is a lot like last spring: cooler than usual, which tells me that the forces responsible for our weather aren’t really changing in any dramatic fashion.

  31. Only a Watch? What is required to issue a Warning? Does an El Niño have to be spotted or something? I’m not taking cover yet.

  32. Over a long period these will balance out. says Steven Mosher
    you mean over the last 17 years!!!!

  33. Steven,

    In fact, I didn’t think most of the models did all that good a job with El Nino. I read that some of the better ones are getting some of the features of El Nino right (whatever that means exactly). But from what I gather, if most of the models don’t model El Nino more or less correctly, warming due to El Nino’s can hardly be said to validate the models. That can’t be what the prophecy says, if the prophet knows El Nino not, or poorly at best.

  34. Steven Mosher says:
    May 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm
    “pretty simple. The GCMs dont get the timing of El Nino correct. That means
    when we are in La Nina conditions they overestimate the warming and in El Nino they will
    underestimate.
    Over a long period these will balance out.
    simple.
    ——————————————————————————————————————–
    Spoken like a true lawyer/politician. Sorry Steven, while I always read your comments (even the fly by ones) and respect your input and knowledge, suggesting that two incorrect estimates about a chaotic system will somehow simply “balance out” doesn’t get it.

  35. Mark Bofill says: May 8, 2014 at 3:18 pm
    “some of the better ones are getting some of the features of El Nino right (whatever that means exactly)”

    Check this short video. About half-way through it switches to E pacific and an El Nino. It gets a typical jet, and even the spacing of the side vortices is about right.

  36. Nick,

    Thanks, I will.

    Hey, I’d actually like to be wrong about this. I think it’d be pretty cool if we could model El Nino’s well. But however well we’re doing these days, there’s an awful lot of settled science that has to predate our current understanding. What happened to all that?

    But I betcha that come the day (assuming we aren’t already there) that we can get ocean dynamics like this right, we’ll be a good long ways towards having decent models. All that’ll be left are to fix clouds, maybe.

  37. From Steven Mosher on May 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm:

    pretty simple. The GCMs dont get the timing of El Nino correct. That means
    when we are in La Nina conditions they overestimate the warming and in El Nino they will
    underestimate.

    Over a long period these will balance out.

    Much like the software at a bank that computes interest payments to depositors, which is set to always round down as a bank cannot pay out any sum that is not proven to exist, which could happen 50% of the time if round-ups were allowed as total round-ups exceeded total round-downs. Regulators frown on handing out non-existent money, and the total sums could be quite substantial.

    Over a long period this will balance out, as the banks will charge enough in service fees in total to cancel out whatever interest payments were made.

  38. All that’ll be left are to fix clouds, maybe.

    aaauffff. (vomit). Mixed tenses.

  39. In the headline graph, there are two sets of data points: a bar graph and a line graph denoting “Climatological Probability”. The line graph appears to show that the probability of La Nina (blue line) is roughly the same as the probability of El Nino (red line) throughout the year, with only the Neutral rating (green line) dropping.

    That appears to contradict what is shown by the bar graph which favours El Nino heavily (red bars).

    Anthony, can you explain in more detail the meaning of that graph? It’s not intuitively obvious.

    Thanks.

  40. Cool video Nick. Of course, I wouldn’t know a decent virtual El Nino if I was drowning in it, but I read that GFDL does El Nino pretty well, relative to the other models.

    It’s one of those time I wish climate scientists had stuck to purely science instead of advocacy, so I could trust that I’m not being B.S.’d on how good the simulation is. Ah well.

  41. It came from the equatorial Pacific , super climate devastating whole planet eating El Nino Godzilla…. news at eleven ….

  42. Steven Mosher says:

    May 8, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    “I don’t know. Maybe the Krakenino will rise, and devastate the Pause, and bring woe to the unbeliever. But even if it does, I don’t see how that fulfils the Prophecies as laid out by the GCMs.”

    pretty simple. The GCMs dont get the timing of El Nino correct. That means
    when we are in La Nina conditions they overestimate the warming and in El Nino they will
    underestimate.

    Over a long period these will balance out.

    simple.
    =========================
    Just like air-to-air missiles, eh ?

  43. Steven Mosher: The GCMs dont get the timing of El Nino correct. That means
    when we are in La Nina conditions they overestimate the warming and in El Nino they will
    underestimate.

    Over a long period these will balance out.

    maybe. It hasn’t been demonstrated yet.

  44. So folks, Steven Mosher has made a falsifiable statement. If this does indeed turn out to be an El Nino, lets see if the models underpredict the warming. Can we tag his statement for later verification?

  45. It would be nice if El Niño posts were discussed in a Pacific wide language and not use Northern Hemisphere seasons as date references. Just a small complaint and keep up the good work all.

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