El Niño or La Nada for the 2014/15 ENSO Season

El Niño and La Niña events are the dominant modes of natural climate variability on Earth, which is why the state of the tropical Pacific is continuously monitored. El Niños and La Niñas impact weather patterns globally. As a number of recent papers have argued, the dominance of La Niña events in recent years is responsible for part of the cessation in global surface warming outside of the Arctic, so by inference, those papers are also stating that a string of strong El Niño events were responsible for part of the long-term warming from the mid-1970s to the turn of the century. There’s nothing new about that; for years we’ve been discussing the naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled processes that drive El Niño events and cause long-term warming of global surface temperatures. If this subject is new to you, see the link at the end of this post for an overview.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) provides the following summary of their ENSO forecasts in their January 30, 2014 El Niño/La Niña Update:

  • ENSO conditions are currently neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña);
  • As of mid-January 2014, except for a small possibility for weak and brief La Niña development during the next couple of months, outlooks indicate likely continuation of neutral conditions into the second quarter of 2014;
  • Current forecasts indicate approximately equal chances for neutral conditions or the development of a weak El Niño during the third quarter of 2014, reflecting increased chances for development of a weak El Niño.

It appears no one is suggesting that a full-fledged La Niña will form for the 2014/15 season. As of the week centered on February 5th, the sea surface temperature anomalies of the NINO3.4 region of the equatorial Pacific indicated that the tropical Pacific was experiencing La Niña conditions, though not an “official” La Niña. See the monthly sea surface temperature update for January 2014.

What’s your prediction? Please provide links to the variables you monitor. Here’s what I predict.

I predict, if we see El Niño conditions, global warming enthusiasts will cheer, because they have forecast, in turn, that record high global temperatures will accompany the next El Niño. And I predict, if we see La Niña or ENSO-neutral conditions, skeptics will cheer, because global surface temperatures should continue to remain flat. (Other than that, I don’t make predictions.)

The ENSO wrap-up from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) for February 14, 2014 provides a similar loose forecast. (For those who live north of the equator, keep in mind the BOM is discussing austral seasons.)

And NOAA’s CPC has a similar mix of possible scenarios in their Weekly ENSO Update dated February 10, 2014—though the NCEP’s models are forecasting El Niño conditions starting in April-June 2014. See page 27.

The WMO briefly mentions the problems with ENSO predictions during this part of the year. They write:

It must be noted that model outlooks that span March-May period tend to have particularly lower skill than those made at other times of year. Hence some caution should be exercised when using long range outlooks made at this time for the middle of the year and beyond.

ENSO predictions at this time of year are hampered by a problem called the Spring Prediction Barrier. See the discussion at the IRI website here. But a series of new papers claim to have overcome that hurdle.

The recently published Ludescher et al (2014) Very Early Warning of Next El Niño (paywalled) are predicting El Niño conditions by late 2014. The abstract reads:

The most important driver of climate variability is the El Niño Southern Oscillation, which can trigger disasters in various parts of the globe. Despite its importance, conventional forecasting is still limited to 6 mo ahead. Recently, we developed an approach based on network analysis, which allows projection of an El Niño event about 1 y ahead. Here we show that our method correctly predicted the absence of El Niño events in 2012 and 2013 and now announce that our approach indicated (in September 2013 already) the return of El Niño in late 2014 with a 3-in-4 likelihood. We also discuss the relevance of the next El Niño to the question of global warming and the present hiatus in the global mean surface temperature.

Global warming enthusiasts have already started cheering for an El Niño. See the Michael Slezak article in NewScientist titled El Niño may make 2014 the hottest year on record. And Andrew Freedman of ClimateCentral begins his post Study Sounds ‘El Niño Alarm’ For Late This Year:

A new study shows that there is at least a 76 percent likelihood that an El Niño event will occur later this year, potentially reshaping global weather patterns for a year or more and raising the odds that 2015 will set a record for the warmest year since instrument records began in the late 19th century.

Ludescher et al (2014) appears to be based on Ludescher et al (2013) Improved El Niño forecasting by cooperativity detection (paywalled). We discussed the earlier Ludescher et al paper in the July 2013 post El Niño in the News. I closed that post with:


Numerous datasets indicate that El Niño events are fueled naturally. Additionally, satellite-era sea surface temperature records indicate that El Niño events are responsible for the warming of sea surface temperatures over the past 31 years, not vice versa as Li et al (2013) have suggested. If this topic is new to you, refer to my illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” [42MB].


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Thanks for the update Bob. However, I’m not sure the following is correct:
” El Niños and La Niñas impact weather patterns globally. ”
I know it’s not your own idea, there is a lot of discussion of El Nino being some kind of driver. I’ve said serveral times in the past that I think it’s common cause not , direct causation.
RichardLH provided some interesting plots on tides recently.
Here we can see a clear linkage of nino3.4 in the middle of the pacific with the other areas it’s is supposed to “impact”.
There is strong suggestion that there is some tidal “forcing” causing similar changes in several parts of the globe.

It’s odds on La Nada, with El Nino at 4:1 against and La Nina at 3:1 against. Warmists are putting their pensions on El Nino, Australian farmers are putting the farms on La Nina but the general population is firmly behind La Nada.

Jenn Oates

I predict that the climate will continue to change as it always has, and that we won’t be able to do very much about it, for two reasons: not only because we’re just one puny species on the face of a big planet, but mostly because we really don’t have a comprehensive understanding of what makes global climate systems tick in the first place.
That’s as far as I’ll go. 🙂

High Treason

Hoping for a La Nina this year-Australia is a bit dry, although we are having some nice, juicy rain at the moment. It is possible that by the end of next week, dam levels in all capital cities will be higher than a year ago, making Tim Flannery, once again, looking like a goose. Has he actually had a single prediction come true? Looking at the sinusoidal temperature curve, we are just entering a cooling phase. Looking forward to the poppycock excuse to explain away this. Wake up, the tactics of the warmists are EXACTLY those of habitual liars-lies to support lies. Poppycock excuses to support the lie that are difficult or near impossible to verify. Given the so-called “experts ” say 75% chance of El Nino, my bet is for a La Nina. Should be able to get good odds.

Otter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

Hmmm. La Nina seems to be good for Australia… but also appears to be Bad, for California. Or am I mistaking La Nada for La Nina in California? All I know is, oh!bummer! wants to tax it.

” … I predict, if we see El Niño conditions, global warming enthusiasts will cheer, because they have forecast, in turn, that record high global temperatures will accompany the next El Niño. … “
Since the temperature data sets are massively fraudulent, I expect to see massive “adjustments” to the measured temperatures regardless of El Niño or La Niña conditions. The blatant fraud that is “climate science” proves that science is totally unworthy of the confidence that many moderns place in it.


I’ve isolated a 9.3 year variation in Indian Ocean that corresponds to cyclic changes in the lunar declination angle.
This shows warm water being transported in and out of the tropical portion of the Indian Ocean in a 9.3 year cycle. It seems that Willis’ tropical governor warms up the cooler surface when the warm water moves south, leading to a net warming rather than a neutral displacement of heat.
A more complex pattern seems to exist in Pacific and Atlantic that span both hemispheres. There is an interplay of 9.3 and 8.85
Now that may come some way to your hypothesis that oceanic variations are behind the warming trend.

Bloke down the pub

Surely, the longer the gap between El Niños , the higher the likelihood that one will come along?

I predict La Nina conditions for 2014
There will be sharp decline in SST temperature, confirming the general global cooling trend noted from 2002.
According to the a-c curve for the amount of energy coming in, 2014 is similar to 1925, looking at energy in…
In 1925 there was a sharp decline in SST
Count on it. Tell everybody to get off their CO2 high horse and to start getting prepared for 2-3 decades of global cooling.


” All I see is a map that’s undefined. ”
It’s the M2 and K1 tides, if you know what they are.
This is URL at the top of the plot but difficult to read. I’ve asked Richard to provide a link.
The linkage is the NW pacific that is used to derived the PDO ‘index’ is in phase with the tides in the Nino3.4 region and with a whole string of zones around the whole of the equator.
A common tidal cause seems a lot more credible that some mysterious teleconnection that allows this tiny part of the Pacific to dictate global climate.


Amusing that the AGW proponents are at all interested in ENSO because, by predicting that El Nino raises global temperatures, they are implicity admiting that CO2 isn’t the ‘driver’ of temperatures they seem to think it is. If CO2 were the overriding ‘driver’ (and if the increase in CO2 drives temperatures higher) wouldn’t it have overcome the effects of both El Nino & La Nina? Still more interesting is the idea that natural processes like ENSO, PDO, AMO have somehow ‘conspired’ to exactly balance the CO2 driven temperature increases for over 17 years. I’m not a betting man, but, I’d be very hesitant to put money on that proposition being true.


Bob: “Also, the weather-related impacts of ENSO have been studied for decades. For an introduction, see the NOAA webpage here:”
That does not avoid the question : what is causing ENSO?
“It causes itself” has always seemed unsatisfactory to me, even if there maybe some postitive feedback in play.
A tidal cause would seem more likely.
The M2 pattern links N.Pac, N.Atl, Nino3.4 and the Indian Ocean is in anti-phase with the others.
The teleconnection is the moon !


the top level URL should explain where it all comes from.


“Please show me the data (time-series preferred compared to an ENSO index), ”
I’ve shown you physical data from 2004 that links the regions that ENSO is supposed to “impact”. I’m not saying I’ve got a wrapped up explanation of climate change of the last 200 years.
However, it shows a linkage of tidal variation between the regions that correlate with ENSO.
Further I have shown in the Indian Ocean I direct link between decadal SST variations and lunar declination that drives the tides.
If similar things happen in other oceans (and I’ve shown 9.3+8.85 in other basins) then we get a correlated decadal variation. Since ENSO and trade winds are driven by regional differences in SST, it seems that it’s all pointing to the same natural variation, of which ENSO is a part.
I’ve said for a long time that you are right about ENSO but that it is the mechanism and we need to seek the cause. I think this is starting to show what that cause may be.

I am confused. I left a comment earlier, looked to be comment number 9 or so, and it was posted. It is now gone. No trace.
I think it was about 30 min. ago. Just long enough for me to install this brand new wireless router here at my house.
Was it something I said?
~ Mark

Heck. Now I can see it again after posting last comment. My comment is in moderation. Please delete these last two comments as they are an impediment to the thread.
~ Mark

Bill Illis

There are forecasts of a developing El Nino this year primarily because of the build-up of warm water in the equatorial undercurrent. Jan 2014 here. The big red spot.
This fairly large red spot normally flows under the Pacific surface to the east and surfaces at the Galapagos Islands where it can lead to an El Nino if it is warm or a La Nina if it is cold.
But this currently warm water has to fight its way through the rest of the equatorial Pacific’s cold water in the eastern half in order to still be warmer than average when it makes its way to the Galapagos.
This is “exactly” the same set-up for the previous two years. In those two years, an El Nino looked very likely, started to develop, but came to a sputtering end. Because all the cool water in the east, returned the undercurrent to normal temperatures.
Same set-up, likely to be the same result. In essence, it is why a cold PDO leads to more La Ninas and fewer El Ninos.
Lots of other factors to consider. Trade Winds, SOI, OLR/cloud patterns at the International Dateline, the Peru-Humbolt current SSTs, Atmospheric Angular Momentum, equatorial surface currents – all of which are not pointing to an El Nino.


German scientists believe that there is a 75% chance of an El Nino. They state that 2014 could be the hottest on record.
I’ve read the PDO effects or drives the AMO. I’ve also read in some blogs that the AMO may be going negative….and at an earlier time than predicted. Does this help drive Nino or Nina?

Steve M. From TN

It appears to me that El Niño and La Niña are only weather related events. As Bob says, ther were more El Niño events durning the warming. I don’t think these are climatic variables, but rather are riding the wave of another pattern..perhaps the PDO.

wayne Job

El Nino or La Nina over the long term in the area of concern give us droughts and floods, temps up and temps down. These are also emergent stuff like Willis talks about, only longer term.
The sun also has it’s emergent stuff, and it is not looking pretty for global warming in the northern hemisphere. Regardless of what the pundits tell us the sun had a big slumber during the L.I.A. and seems to be heading for a holiday now.
This would tend to indicate that the sun has a profound effect on our climate, that we do not know why our how is our problem to deal with. ENSO , PDO, AMO all emergent stuff only longer term than Willis’s thunderstorms in the tropics.


Thanks for that map Bob. Always better to have something clear to look at.
“I see no similarities between the maps you’ve provided and the one above.”
Firstly a one year snap shot of M2 or K1 is not the whole story. However, let me point out some similarities since say you see none.
Red spot in Nino3.4 spreads up between HA and CA to major red spot around Canada and Alaska.
Red in tropical Atlantic spreads to Africa.
Red zones south of equator in Indian O. spreading up along coast of Africa.
Red around China/Korea to Japan.
Minimum blue colours in W. Australia.
However, N.Atl /Europe is more neutral in like the strong red in M2 tides, is this because of you the lag you chose. ??
One major difference I see in the southern part of the South Pacific. That one large zone is nearly opposite.
So , no it’s not a 1:1 match with what you show. But “I see no similarities” is someone not looking.
“You’ve got a lot of work to do to before you can even attempt to make the claim that it’s the moon and not changes in atmospheric circulation that causes weather to vary in response to an El Niño.”
Well that’s not actually what I said.
The moon will affect both atmospheric and oceanic circulation. Though the two are quite different media. You have posted many times on the effect of SST on trade winds and ENSO There’s no reason why that is contrary to tidal effects (with the decadal effects on SST I have shown) being part of the cause of changes in El Ninjo 😉
I showed cross-correlation between N.Pac and N.Alt , so did recent Best/Curry paper.
That technique looks at ALL lags and analyses the frequency spectra. It may just be that your 2 month lag is not the right lag for those two oceans.
I see more similarities than differences in those plots but agree this needs a lot more work to understand the timing and mechanisms involved.
Thanks for a useful comparison.


While, it likely won’t happen very soon, I’m hoping to see El Nino to come by the fall. It tends to be very beneficial for southwest USA for rainfall through fall,winter and spring.


Kenny says:
“German scientists believe that there is a 75% chance of an El Nino. They state that 2014 could be the hottest on record.”
Sounds like Rahmsdorf, though he’s not alone. They say that sort of thing every year and who can disagree with a statement like that?
It be the the hottest on record. I agree. On the other hand …….

Stephen Richards

Hansen was forever predicting massive El Niños but they never came .


A couple of thoughts.
1. Joe Bastardi I believe, is on record stating that an El Niño will occur beginning fall of 2014. He is about the only reliable source that is predicting an El Niño. I don’t know what Joe bases this on, I read it in a tweet, I do not subscribe to Weatherbell. I think Joe follows WUWT, maybe he’ll stop by. 😉
2. Ludescher states that his model has predicted the last two years of La Nada, but I don’t recall seeing those predictions ahead of time. The abstract of his paper does not inspire confidence. Time will tell.
3. I’ll take a stab at it and predict La Nada continues, trending slightly cooler as the year moves on. The Pacific warm pool appears to be bleeding heat to the South, and there does not appear to be all that much heat down there to begin with. I don’t know why the trade winds fail at that onset of an El Niño, but I doubt we will see one this year. Which is about the first Time I have ever disagreed with Joe…

It is almost comical to see the alarmists desperately wishcasting an El Nino; they know that something like that is the only thing that has a chance of salvaging their PR campaigns, and without it, their ride on the government-funded gravy train might just about be over.
It’s like watching a gambler who’s lost most of his stake going all-in at the roulette table, in a last gasp bid to save himself. That rarely turns out well for the gambler.
Now I don’t know whether we will have an El Nino or not; but I do know that desperate gamblers make for very poor forecasters.


Oops , WP chopping stuff out again. Let’s retry.
It couldbe the the hottest on record. I agree. On the other hand …….


Let’s just hope La Nada doesn’t turn into La Ninja !!

I predict a strong La Nina. My prediction is based on the guess that solar activity drives La Ninas and El Ninos – that La Ninas are more likely during global cooling. Given that solar activity seems to be dropping rapidly, my theory would predict an enhanced likelihood of a strong La Nina.

michael hart

Well, Bob,
I predict, if we see El Niño conditions, global warming enthusiasts will say they are right, global-warming is continuing, and we must do as they say.
And I predict, if we see La Niña or ENSO-neutral conditions,global warming enthusiasts will say they are right, global-warming is continuing, and we must do as they say.
Other than that, I don’t make predictions. But it will be ‘worse than we thought’.
Other than that, I don’t make predictions.


Unless sun spot activity picks up, I’d say it will be La Nada. When there’s a major sun spot group facing the Earth, like there was in the first week of February, the skies tend to be clearer and temps higher—at least in the Philippines. A day after that sun spot group disappeared over the horizon, the skies turned cloudy and temps started to decline. If sun spot activity drops below current levels, then I’d say La Niña.


Last year I thought an El Nino event would have begun in late December. And if we look at the weather analogs for 1975-1978, we would have seen a rather strong El Nino in beginning in late 1975, which accompanied the so-called Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1976-77. Remember, during that period the NH suffered a string of rather nasty winters (1976-1978). With the onset of nasty winter weather for North America (and a West Coast drought), I was surprised not see an El Nino ginning up in the Pacific.
In that case, I will stay with persistence and ENSO neutral conditions. We are overdue for an El Nino. But, when it comes, it will not lift global temps the way Trenbeth et als hope for. La Nina conditions will dominate the Pacific for the next 20-25 years (a repeat for the 1947-1977 cyclic conditions).


Last year, using “observations & models”, climastrologist scientivists from the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science wishcast a doubling in super El Niño frequency under even modest global warming scenarios. Yet it has now been 17 years since the last super El Niño of 1997, which occurred just 15 years after the previous one in 1982.
But that was then, during a 20-year global warming phase long since ended. This is now, during a global cooling phase.
I don´t know whether even a normal El Niño will happen this year, let alone a super one, but the swing does seem overdue, even given presently cooler tendencies. The charge/discharge switch from cool to warm eastern equatorial Pacific hasn’t disappeared.
During the Pliocene, before the closure of the Isthmus of Panama, the El Niño pattern was more or less constant. Spruce & pine trees ringed the Arctic Ocean.

The Earth does not need an El Niño event to create the hottest weather any more than it needed a La Niña event to create the coldest weather. There is a disruption in the air flow patterns around the planet likely created by a weakening of the solar wind and solar magnetic fields.
The displacements will likely continue through the summer; and in places where there were extreme cold events, there are likely to be extreme heat events as seasonal wind pattern adjustments progress. This seasonal wind adjustment will coincide with the northern migration of the total electron content (TEC).
The TEC not only has a annual cycle, but also a diurnal cycle as it follows the Sun. This is likely a significant driver of daily and seasonal wind patterns, in addition to total solar irradiance and stored heat in the Earth’s waters.
As others do, I also suspect El Niño and La Niña are effects of solar system weather.


A very mild La Nina due to slightly upscale Solar output. I monitor the following variables:
1) Solar Flux
2) Existing Ocean Surface temperatures.
The Solar Flux jumped to +190 sfu due to the Southern Hemisphere of the Sun (down hemisphere) coming slightly alive. This raised the Ozone “temperature” and size causing an upper atmospheric insulating effect. The minor warming is most noticeable in the Arctic, reduction in growth of Sea Ice Extent. The Flux increase will also cause a “reduced La Nina”. Since the integral (over time) of the overall Solar output is about 1/4 of the giant peak in Solar Cycle 19 [1954], the amount of Solar energy reaching the Earth is down.
My view is that the El Niños are a direct result of Solar energy warming the Oceans fueling the Hadley Cycle creating increased Trade Winds that drive Ocean currents. When the Solar input is down, the Trade Winds and Oceans currents are reduced, thereby producing a La Nina.
The present Jet Stream oscillations (Polar Vortex fluctuations) are due to the Pacific Oscillation warm spot 1000 miles west of Washington State. That Pacific Ocean warm spot was one-half the size of the US. The rising warmth drove the Jet Stream North. As the Ocean warmth declines, the Jet Stream will stay further South with Ocean cooling.
Bottom line: direct relationship between Solar Flux and El Niño/La Nina with existing Ocean warmth as a moderator.

Chuck L

I say La Nada or a very weak El Nino because I feel only a slight disruption in The Force. On a more serious note, it is reprehensible that warmists want a strong El Nino, Strong El Nino’s cause destruction and damage across much of the globe but I guess that is a “small” price to pay to advance their (dying) narrative.


Anyone know what BAstardi is predicting?


Despite my skeptical disposition, I must root for an El Niño as I live in Southern California and it is associated with our rains.

M Courtney
M Courtney

Sorry Mods. Failed to close link.

@Eric Worral
you are my man
you get it a bit
2014 could be nina (strong)
2014 might be nada; if it is, then 2015 will be nina, the lady
there is no El Nino my man, anywhere near, soon


La Nina or El Ninjo ? Where is the driver for both? It’s the SUN Stupid!


Why is my comment from 6:42 still awaiting moderation?

Box of Rocks

How about neither La Nina or El Nino and continued cooling.
That would do a lot of harm to their theories…


Looks like Yogi Berra could help these folks a bit:
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” but
“You can observe a lot just by watching.”
and when their predictions are wrong (as the warmistas usually are):
“I never said most of the things I said.” and
“The future ain’t what it used to be.”
Probably they or their parents agreed with:
“I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”
The first predictions quote has also been attributed to Niels Bohr, who is probably
rolling in his grave over what has happened to the scientific method….