NOAA announces the arrival of El Niño

clickable global map of SST anomalies

Contact: Christopher Vaccaro               FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

202-536-8911 (cellular)                                   July 9, 2009

El Niño Arrives; Expected to Persist through Winter 2009-10

NOAA scientists today announced the arrival of El Niño, a climate phenomenon with a significant influence on global weather, ocean conditions and marine fisheries. El Niño, the periodic warming of central and eastern tropical Pacific waters, occurs on average every two to five years and typically lasts about 12 months.

NOAA expects this El Niño to continue developing during the next several months, with further strengthening possible. The event is expected to last through winter 2009-10.

“Advanced climate science allows us to alert industries, governments and emergency managers about the weather conditions El Niño may bring so these can be factored into decision-making and ultimately protect life, property and the economy,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

El Niño’s impacts depend on a variety of factors, such as intensity and extent of ocean warming, and the time of year. Contrary to popular belief, not all effects are negative. On the positive side, El Niño can help to suppress Atlantic hurricane activity. In the United States, it typically brings beneficial winter precipitation to the arid Southwest, less wintry weather across the North, and a reduced risk of Florida wildfires.

El Niño’s negative impacts have included damaging winter storms in California and increased storminess across the southern United States. Some past El Niño’s have also produced severe flooding and mudslides in Central and South America, and drought in Indonesia.

An El Niño event may significantly diminish ocean productivity off the west coast by limiting weather patterns that cause upwelling, or nutrient circulation in the ocean.  These nutrients are the foundation of a vibrant marine food web and could negatively impact food sources for several types of birds, fish and marine mammals.

In its monthly El Niño diagnostics discussion today, scientists with the NOAA National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center noted weekly eastern equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures were at least 1.0 degree C above average at the end of June. The most recent El Niño occurred in 2006.

El Niño includes weaker trade winds, increased rainfall over the central tropical Pacific, and decreased rainfall in Indonesia. These vast rainfall patterns in the tropics are responsible for many of El Niño’s global effects on weather patterns.

NOAA will continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation in the tropical Pacific, and will provide more detailed information on possible Atlantic hurricane impacts in its updated Seasonal Hurricane Outlook scheduled for release on August 6, 2009.

NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources. Visit http://www.noaa.gov.

On the Web:

Forecast: http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/ensodisc.html

NOAA’s El Niño site: http://www.elnino.noaa.gov

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Douglas DC

Oh praise Gaia and the Profit! at long last!
Sarc. off-this will be a weak one-there are some who
say it may not make it though the Boreal winter…

Retired Engineer

Horrors! We must raise taxes, immediately!

tallbloke

WIll it be hot or will it not.
Place bets now!

UK Sceptic

This will mean more BBC and Monbiot driven thermageddon. I can hardly wait…

Jimmy Haigh

I think AGW needs another 1998 to stay in the game.

Arthur Glass

” NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.”
What an arrogant, ignorant piece of bloviation that is! It enrages me every time I read it (but then I am also enraged by John Lennon’s moronic mewl ‘Imagine’). On the other hand, what would one expect from an outfit that styles itself the Administrator of Ocean and Air? Poseidon and Aeolus wrapped up in one.
At the name of NOAA, every knee shall bow.

BRIAN M FLYNN

Something to mindful about –
Per Hansen et al, ***2008 Global Surface Temperature in GISS Analysis”*** last January,
“Given our expectation of the next El Nino beginning in 2009 or 2010, it still seems likely that a new global temperature record will be set within the next 1-2 years, despite the moderate negative effect of the reduced solar irradiance.”
Keep watching, and remember.

Jack

The last paragraph kind of says it all…
“…NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.”

Fred from Canuckistan . . .

“NOAA understands and predicts changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun”
Well that is some self-praise.
At least they don’t claim they do accurate predictions.

Chuck L

Joe Bastardi from Accuweather, who predicted the El Nino back in January, predicts that it will be no more than a moderate one, and that it will fall apart by late fall or winter. That being said, the AGW’ers and the media will no doubt start having a field day as it will be proclaimed that “global warming has resumed just like the models predicted.” I can’t wait (heavy sarcasm).

Dave in Delaware

hmmmm
The announcement above says –
“NOAA scientists today announced the arrival of El Niño”
but
following the links to the EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO)
DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION, they say –
“During June 2009, conditions across the equatorial Pacific Ocean transitioned from ENSO-neutral to El Niño conditions.”
and –
“Current conditions and recent trends favor the continued development of a weak-to-moderate strength El Niño into the Northern Hemisphere Fall 2009, with further strengthening possible thereafter.”
So apparently we have El Nino “conditions”, with forecast to develop into an El Nino in the near future.
I couldn’t find the formal definition of ‘x temp for y months’ on the NOAA web site. Am looking forward to that discussion from Bob T or others here.

Flanagan

Yes Brian, predictions that are actually observed should be emphasized.

Dave in Delaware

found it ….
NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, which is part of the National Weather Service, declares the onset of an El Niño episode when the 3-month average sea-surface temperature departure exceeds 0.5oC in the east-central equatorial Pacific [between 5oN-5oS and 170oW-120oW].
… so in a couple more months, we may have a definitive 3-month average.

Barry Foster

UK Sceptic, I fully agree (as a fellow UK BBC sufferer), but won’t it be great if the high temperatures don’t materialize? How will they defend that? El Nino, but cool temps. I can’t wait.

Brian

Does anyone ever read Ed Berry’s blog? http://weatherclimatelink.blogspot.com/
Ed is not so sure that this El Nino will have staying power. Here is what he wrote recently (some of this is over my head).
“Like the recent behavior of the financial markets, we have seen an “AAM correction”. However, is this simply a subseasonal variation destructively interfering with El-Nino, or is a process beginning that not only could weaken EL-Nino this upcoming boreal autumn, but perhaps bring a La-Nina situation boreal winter 2009-10? The answer is unclear”
And most recently: “The bottom line is that the global wind and convective signals continue to lead the SSTs (broken record), and the ENSO situation is unclear (will stochastic forcing have giveth then taketh away?).”

Barry Foster

UK Met Office and CRU web site has been down for three days now! Bet they can’t wait to get back online with their dire predictions.

Jim Hughes

Dave in Delaware (08:17:05)
I couldn’t find the formal definition of ‘x temp for y months’ on the NOAA web site. Am looking forward to that discussion from Bob T or others here.
——
Five consectutive months of a positive ONI.
http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml

Leon Brozyna

Well, they’ve been predicting it long enough. Remember that while we may be in the negative phase of the PDO, it doesn’t preclude experiencing a few El Niño events. It’ll probably turn out to be a weak event, despite some folks’ hopes for a repeat of ’98. La Niña events, on the other hand, tend to be predominant during the DPO’s negative phase. The good news, I suppose, would be fewer Atlantic hurricanes – haven’t had a named storm yet this season – not even a “Tiny Tim”.

Patrick Davis

“Flanagan (08:24:55) :
Yes Brian, predictions that are actually observed should be emphasized.”
And when those “predictions” are wrong (Like arctic free of sea ice within 5 years) should also be emphasized (Rather than ignored)?

Antonio San

“Advanced climate science allows us to alert industries, governments and emergency managers about the weather conditions El Niño may bring so these can be factored into decision-making and ultimately protect life, property and the economy,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
Next time they are proven wrong, we’ll know their climate science was not advanced enough… Just as for the Communist planification, they’ll have to find another qualificative to describe their product: Hyper-cerebral, Mighty-weaponed, Multi spatial climate science… LOL

Douglas DC

Love Ed Berry and Joe Bastardi I feel that the Winter of ’09/10 will be a memorable one
but not for the Warmists among us.There is a lot of cold out there. It would have to be a Nino’98 to even budge it…

Adam Soereg

The next few months are going to be very interesting for anyone who follows the evolution of global temperatures and the whole climate change debate.
Remember, the UK MetOffice predicted about seven months ago that 2009 is going to be one of the top five warmest years ever recorded. The great La Nina of 2007/08 and the minor one peaked in January 2009 has gone. Then we have this announcement from NOAA about the beginning of a new El Nino. The global temperature anomaly tends to lag short-term ENSO variations by 2-5 months. It seems that the 2009 forecast is going to ‘overshoot’ the real 2009 value, like any other years since 1999. Altough this is not good for the credibility of the MetOffice, the real question is the temperature response to the next El Nino. If the global anomaly can’t exceed the pre-2008 levels during an El Nino, the main assumption of the AGW camp that increasing CO2 is the main driver of global temperatures will get a serious hit.
According to Dr. Spencer at UAH, the satellite-measured global near-surface temperture anomaly in June was zero (0.001°c) with respect to the 1979-98 reference period. The lack of statisticially significant warming since about 1995, the lack of any warming trend since 1997, and the obvious cooling trend since about 2001 can be seen even in the HadCRUT dataset. Despite of this fact and the systematic bias in the annual global temperature predictions of the MetOffice, Phil Jones just keeps repeating the very same mantra:
“The fact that 2009, like 2008, will not break records does not mean that global warming has gone away. What matters is the underlying rate of warming – the period 2001-2007, with an average of 14.44 °C, was 0.21 °C warmer than corresponding values for the period 1991-2000.”
The recent 9-year cooling trend may have not been caused by a single ENSO event, it must be something else – something they weren’t aware of. The effects of the oncoming El Nino, the recovery or non-recovery of global temperatures to pre-2008 levels will be a very important issue.
This single event can prove the whole CRU and MetOffice wrong (or ressurect their credibility if the outcome will be the opposite).

Dave

Suddenly, weather will magically become climate again. Because when it’s hot, it’s climate. When it’s cool, it’s weather.

Pamela Gray

Follow the weekly updates (out every Monday). The Oceanic Nino Index needs to be +.5 or above (the one posted for July 6th was at .2) and then forecasted to continue at that or above level for 3 months. Not all forecasting models predict this. The statistical models indicate a near equal chance of neutral or El Nino. The dynamical models indicate mostly an El Nino condition. Most predict a weak one at that. It is to be remembered that during a cool PDO flip, El Nino’s will occur. Just not very many and not very strong. The last 3 have all trended down. I still consider the PDO to be in a cool phase and I think that the trend will continue for weaker and weaker El Nino’s. This is probably why NOAA issued an El Nino ADVISORY. If this turns out to be a weaker El Nino, the Northwest could still see very wintery and snowy conditions.

blcjr

Following on what Chuck L wrote, Ed Berry (link below) is cautious about an El Nino “false alarm” and considers the ENSO situation “uncertain.”
http://weatherclimatelink.blogspot.com/
Plus, we have to have five months of consecutive overlapping 3-month seasons with an ONI of +5 or more before officially declaring an “El Nino,” as opposed to “El Nino conditions.” I looked for the latter in the above press release, and didn’t really see a waffle here. The closest is “NOAA expects this El Niño to continue developing during the next several months…” But that treats the El Nino as already “here.”
Here’s the official distinction:
—————————
NOAA Operational Definitions for El Niño and La Niña
El Niño:characterized by a positive ONI greater than or equal to +0.5°C.
La Niña:characterized by a negative ONI less than or equal to -0.5°C.
By historical standards, to be classified as a full-fledged El Niño or La Niña episode,these thresholds must be exceeded for a period of at least 5 consecutive overlapping 3-month seasons.
CPC considers El Niño or La Niña conditions to occur when the monthly Niño3.4 SST departures meet or exceed +/-0.5°C along with consistent atmospheric features. These anomalies must also be forecasted to persist for 3 consecutive months.
———————————-
We do not even have the first month of data in, yet, to qualify for the run of five months needed here. The latest three months of averaged data, April to June, is +0.2.
But let’s give NOAA some rope here, and see if they do better with this “forecast” than they have with the last two or three official US winter forecasts.
Basil

I predict there will be no El Nino. What am I basing that off of? Nothing. But my prediction has just as much chance of being correct as NOAA’s. The last La Nina was supposed to be short and weak. It kept staying longer and longer and longer. Every time NOAA said La Nina would end in 3 months, it was still around 3 months later.
One of the driving factors behind El Nino and La Nina is trade winds. Stronger winds, the warm water stays bottled up near Australia. Weak winds, the warm water is allowed to flow toward South America. Who can forecast what trade winds are going to do? You can look at the trend and go from there. But really, my prediction is as good as anybody else’s.

Pamela Gray

Basil, you da man.

Lamont

As an AGWer, I’m actually hoping for a moderate El Nino of +1.5C to +2.0C or so and for SC24 to remain reasonably quiet. This is both because a repeat of 1998 will be damaging to the environment, and because a more moderate event that crushes the 1998 records will be more convincing (and probably we’ll see another low in arctic sea ice as well).
And for all those anti-AGWers that are suggesting that we “remember” predictions like those I just made… Remember all the predictions that you are making. I’ve heard people make predictions on this blog that El Ninos will never happen again which has pretty convincingly fallen now. What happens when we simply have a substantially normal El Nino that lasts into next spring and doesn’t “collapse” in late fall? What happens when we beat the 1998 record and the whole “cooling for a decade” argument is no longer valid? What happens when solar cycle 24 heats up and that shows up in the ocean temperature measurements and the whole “flat since 2005” argument totally collapses? What happens when we set a new record low in arctic sea ice? If all those happen in the next 5 years, will you all admit that AGW is correct?

Bill Illis

I think we should abandon the need for a consecutive 3 month or 5 month period. When the equatorial ocean temps get to +/-0.7C, it is an El Nino or a La Nina.
The ocean surface in this region doesn’t flip back and forth between warm and cool. It always takes a few months at least for temps to ramp up and/or cool down.
So, its an El Nino. The questions are how long will it last and will it be a large event?
Only 1 of the 4 main indicators is saying this will be a long event. Three of the four indicators, the Trade Winds, Atmospheric Angular Momemtum and the Southern Oscillation Index are not pointing to a large El Nino right now so that might indicate it will be short-lived (several months anyway as noted above).
The only indicator saying a large, long-lasting El Nino is the equatorial upper ocean content. In this case, it seems to be overwhelming the other drivers.
http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ocean/anim/wkxzteq_anm.gif

tallbloke

Leon Brozyna (08:36:15) :
The good news, I suppose, would be fewer Atlantic hurricanes – haven’t had a named storm yet this season – not even a “Tiny Tim”.

Maybe we need a naming convention for El Nino’s too.
So:
1983 – Goliath
1998 – King Kong
2009 – Pinocchio?

El Nino, hmm. That would explain why it’s been barely 60f here where I live in Western Washington for the last couple days, in July, in the millennium of AGW.
Pardon me while I go laugh my ass off.

For the week centered on Wed July 1, 2009, NINO3.4 SST anomalies (OI.v2 data) were at 0.88 deg C.
http://i27.tinypic.com/10py105.png
The June 2009 anomaly was 0.62 deg C.
http://i28.tinypic.com/9gda3c.png
The rest of my monthly update for June 2009 is here:
http://bobtisdale.blogspot.com/2009/07/june-2009-sst-anomaly-update.html

Don E

If true, isn’t this good news for California if it means more rain?

kim

Lamont 9:04:23
No, Lamont, I’ll admit nothing. I would like to see real understanding of climate, which we don’t have now. Even if those events you mention happen that is still no proof of the CO2=AGW paradigm, just as their corollaries are no real negation of the paradigm. But high sensitivity of climate to CO2 is just not being revealed; wide ranging episodes of weather even argue against it.
And just how, pray tell, would a more active sun warm the earth? I’m dying for the answer to that question.
====================================

Any correlation between trade winds and the jet stream?

Bill Illis: To add to those, Western Pacific Warm Water Volume and Depth-Averaged Temperature are not above the “norm” for the post 1997/98 El Nino.
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/elnino/wwv/gif/wwv_t300_anom_w.gif
TAO Project data here:
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tao/elnino/wwv/data/

Moderately hot summer and autumn; some heat waves and thunderstorms will be happening from the second week in July to the first week in September; dry and mild winter with few cold days for the Northeast of Mexico. Few hurricanes which will not surpass class 3 in SS-scale, at the most. On the other hand, Media scaring machinery has started its campaign; however, without mentioning the effects of El Niño, but attributing it to the “climate change” due to human activities, of course.

KW

Well I’m sure the folks fretting over drought in California will be pleased to know relief may come. But then once La Nina hits again…’Oh noes! Drought!’
Come on. Why don’t you praise the rain when its in cycle.
With weather, it’s always feast or famine! Same with life!
To me, some people just love to whine about everything.
Because to them, everything is bad. That is the same reason why the wolf ate Peter…er…the people didn’t listen to Peter’s screams.

Richard deSousa

Lots of other factors makes this El Nino a wild card. Earlier we had two volcanoes erupting in the Northern Hemisphere (Redoubt and Sarychev Peak) and the PDO turning negative and these events will mitigate El Nino. I’m betting NOAA’s prediction for warmer temperatures will be incorrect.

Trey

I just hope it brings some rain to TX. We are baking here in Austin!

It’s been a strangely cool summer so far in Chicago area. I for one will welcome the warm weather – winter sucks.
I’ve got a high res sea ice video from ASMR-E sensors that you can really see the detail of the ice pushing around.
http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2009/07/09/fantastic-high-resolution-video-of-sea-ice/

Dan Gibson

Can someone explain to me-I don’t get how the PDO is in negative phase when EL NINO conditions prevail.

Ray

Ok, let’s see… a little warm water made it to the top… in summer time… ok! The with a generally cooler atmosphere it should help cool down that layer and might cool down even faster since we expect cooler temperature for the winter… ok! So? What’s the big deal here except proving that NOAA has a bad prediction record and most likely won’t get that one right either? Obviously, “NOAA DOES NOT HAVE A CLUE TO predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and conserves and manages our coastal and marine resources.”
I think the most important temperature that would be useful is the average temperature of the oceans to see if it is going dow… like that of the atmosphere.

Pamela Gray

This is not an El Nino folks. It is an El Nino condition ADVISORY and only just barely. The month average has to be .5 or above and then predicted to stay that way for 3 months or longer in order for the condition to stay current. If the prediction holds true, after that it can be called an El Nino condition and not just an ADVISORY. And then after 5 months it can be called an El Nino Event. Or something like that. It is expected that temps right now would continue to be cool (no need to laugh) and warm a bit into possibly an Indian Summer. But that’s it folks. The show will be over come November. IMHO.

George E. Smith

“”” Flanagan (08:24:55) :
Yes Brian, predictions that are actually observed should be emphasized. “””
Let’s face it; you start with a 50:50 shot. Might as well go for it; you’ll wins some and lose some.
George

Dave D

Lamont:
“What happens when we simply have a substantially normal El Nino that lasts into next spring and doesn’t “collapse” in late fall? (1) What happens when we beat the 1998 record and the whole “cooling for a decade” argument is no longer valid? (2) What happens when solar cycle 24 heats up and that shows up in the ocean temperature measurements and the whole “flat since 2005″ argument totally collapses? (3) What happens when we set a new record low in arctic sea ice? (4) If all those happen in the next 5 years, will you all admit that AGW is correct? (5) ”
Absolutely! The thing about being a skeptic, not a denier, is that you are driven by information, not idealogue. I have very little opinion on question #1, but it 2-4 happen and #5, which is they happen in the next 5 years happens, you will ABSOLUTELY have my vote. It will be hard for 2009 to reverse the 10 year trend at it’s present rate, so the decade thing will probably stand…. I believe that a warmer Earth is a better Earth, which will provide more growing areas, more evaporation and life giving rain and longer growing seasons, but I will bow to the wise AGW theory if these 5 signposts comes to pass.
Let me turn it around and throw out #1 about the El Nino. If we do NOT surpass 1998, in the next 5 years, if we continue to cool, even as SC24 eventually does start up (and it peaks WELL short of the last 5 cycles), if the Ocean’s temps and levels remain flat to cool (recede) for 5 years – will you leave behind your misguided models?
I saw a great article from a physicist born in 1945, who lived through 25 years of cooling until 1970. Then 28 years of warming, through 1998. Now he has seen 10 years of cooling again – he asks the question – HOW CAN I BE ALARMED AT THIS NON TREND? I ask how can anyone? The guy’s 53 years old, by my calculation. How many well meaning AGWer’s were born closer to the 1970 mark and simply lack perspective and life experience?
Lamont, if your bold predictions occur, you win my vote – I say it again. Maybe Anthony will consent to post your comment every year, 1 time on it’s anniversary, for 5 years? It’s the first reasonable post I’ve seen from your side of the equation. You made a prediction, you asked reasonable questions – are you sure you REALLY beliebve in AGW?

James the Simple

Lamont: “If all those happen in the next 5 years, will you all admit that AGW is correct?”
Actually, no. These things might indicate that the earth is warming again/still, but it would prove nothing about the cause being human activity. Something caused the Earth to warm up to end the last Ice Age, and we know that wasn’t human activity.
There’s two pieces to the AGW argument: (1) is the Earth warming and (2) did people cause it? Proving (1) does nothing to prove (2).

Frank Mosher

I sincerely hope we have an El Nino, as those of us in California need the rain to make up for a three year deficit. There have been 3 El Ninos since 2000, and yet global temps. have been drifting lower since then, so it remains to be seen if that trend changes. UAH reported tropical ocean, mid tropo. temperature anomaly of -.05 for June 2009. They reported the same anomaly for June 1979. Evidently the Earth is very good at regulating it’s temperature., IMHO.

Pamela Gray

Take a look at where the jet stream is and what it looks like over WA and OR. It has a weak main component from West to East just below Oregon and heading slightly northeast. But there is another piece that has a stronger North-South flow that is bringing us some natural air conditioning. So yes, you be cool in Washington (and here in Oregon as well).
http://squall.sfsu.edu/gif/jetstream_norhem_00.gif

John F. Hultquist

Lamont (09:04:23) : “…will you all admit that AGW is correct?”
Say what? Sorry, pal. There was an ice age that ended some 17,000 years ago (date debatable) and Earth has been warming ever since with fits and starts. What has changed?