Very Brief El Niño Update – End of April 2015

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

The weekly sea surface temperature anomalies for the four NINO regions across the equatorial Pacific were at or above the +1.0 deg C threshold of a moderate El Niño, based on data for the week centered on April 22, 2015.

Figure 1

The source of the data is the NOAA Monthly Atmospheric & SST Indices webpage, specifically here. The anomaly data are referenced to the WMO-preferred base years of 1981-2010. NOAA defines a moderate El Niño as an “Episode when the peak Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) is greater than or equal to 1.0°C and less than or equal to 1.4°C.” See the footnotes in the NOAA ENSO Blog post here. The NOAA Oceanic NINO Index is based on the sea surface temperature anomalies of the NINO3.4 region.

On the other hand, the 30-day and 90-day averages of the preliminary BOM Southern Oscillation Index are in ENSO-neutral levels, well shy of their El Niño threshold of -8.0.

I’ll provide a more-detailed ENSO update in a few weeks.

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April 27, 2015 7:00 am

What is really amazing is after every peak on the graphs presented is a valley. So what you are telling us is the water warms, then cools, then warms, then cools ….
Amazing someone hasn’t picked up on this.

Arno Arrak
Reply to  rbabcock
April 27, 2015 2:40 pm

You are very perceptive, rbabcock April 27, 2015 at 7:00 am. The valleys are La Ninas. That is because El Ninos and La Ninas come in pairs. They alternate due to the fact that they are part of an harmonic oscillation (ENSO) of ocean water from side to side in the Pacific. It has been in existence since the Panamanian Seaway closed. Periodically you get ignorant people like Hansen talking of things like “El Nino-like Pliocene.” You cannot use part of an oscillation to set the climate of a geologic era. To learn more read my book “What Warming?”

Reply to  Arno Arrak
April 28, 2015 3:03 am

Thanks Bob.
Arno Attak:- Yes it is obvious to most but the alarmiists seem to have learnt different science to the rest of us. Thanks for the observation, but it will fall on stony ground.

tom s
April 27, 2015 7:07 am

Oh the warmist alarmist is cheering this natural occurrence on so they can say we are destroying momma.

April 27, 2015 8:47 am

Bob: Thanks for the update. In three of the regions the current levels are at the defining line. I noticed that the pattern since about 2000 literally matches the small change in global temperatures since 2000 (no trend). The changes in annual values almost suggests a “balance” amongst years over this time period. Can one read this as 15 year period of neutrality with annual fluctuations? Your thoughts would be appreciated.

April 27, 2015 10:33 am

It is obvious that the 1998-99 event is the one and only big ‘warming’ event of the last 30 years. Otherwise, it is pretty much a steady state situation when we consider the super warm el Nino and typical Ice Age conditions are the two extremes.

richard verney
Reply to  emsnews
April 27, 2015 11:36 pm

This is what the satellite data tells us; no CO2 induced warming since 1979, just a one off step change in and around the Super El Nino of 1998, which event appears to be an entirely natural event (ie., not in some way induced by manmade activities).

April 27, 2015 11:11 am

If we are talking about El Nino, 1000 naval vessels suddenly out in the sea during autumn season do a good job to cool down the North Sea and Baltic Sea rapidly, as clearly demonstrated if you compare winter 1939/40 and winter 2006/07 in North Europe, during which an El Nino was active. Remember, climate is the continuation of the oceans with other means.

Joe Bastardi
April 27, 2015 11:45 am

That SOI is huge as the WARM WATER around Australia provides the natural cap on where this can go. It made for the modoki event we saw late fall through winter rather the super nino talk that was going on last April with the CFSV2 went out of its mind. The modoki was very well correlated with major cold eastern winters and the bedrock of our cold winter forecast) but is a basinwide event now. However the surrounding picture is not good for this to go to the super nino idea of the CFSV2 again. The warm water near Australia promotes lower surface pressures in the means there, which means the easterlies can not slow as much in the classic case. We have been showing in numerous posts on Weatherbell, the major differences in SST around Australia with the long lived and stronger events . In addition there is a problem in the relationship between the n and s pac. We still have what is a cold PDO look in the S hem So our call for our clients is this building to near 1.5 ( I am a huge fan of the JAMSTEC/IRI blend) and then backing down and re centering in the enso 3.4 for winter. I would also look for a MAJOR flip in the coming 3 years to a nasty la nina, and with the amo turning cold, the drop in global temps after this current warmer period should take them down further than post 07/10 ensos. I would suggest a close look at the evolution of the SST GLOBALLY in the late 1950s and early 60s for a similar situation.
cheers to all

Reply to  Joe Bastardi
April 27, 2015 4:02 pm

Exactly and the tropical troposphere temperature pattern has also been a reflection of ENSO/PDO phase.

Reply to  Joe Bastardi
April 28, 2015 8:27 am

Thanks for the heads up Joe. Based on your insights, here is my conjecture on the subject:
At the post on the “supercalifragilistic el Nino” a couple of weeks ago,
You made this comment:
Joe Bastardi April 10, 2015 at 12:04 pm
Think you are right Ian. Already better linkage in overall pattern, but this will peak and weaken back toward the enso3.4 centered Modoki event. Look for a major flip to much colder enso areas and off west coast of US in coming 2-3 years. Overall pattern Atlantic, where Gray/Klotzbach AMO metric already turning cold, and the Pacific is similar to late 1950s. The temp drop in the wake of this in 16-17 ( globally) should exceed that of the previous enso events in 06-07 and 09-10.
So about 60 years ago in the 1950’s, round about one oceanic (~60 year) oscillation cycle ago, the Pacific was … the same as today, a warm blob.
What may be happening is a general cyclical slow-down in equator to pole transport of warm water. Note for instance the slowdown of the north Atlantic drift evidenced by the pile up of sea level off the NE USA coast. The warm blob could be due to a slowing of the Pacific gyre and reduction in vertical mixing. And warm water off California due to a slowdown of the normal cold current from the north.
In support of this, Bill Illis noted that the Pacfic “warm blob” is leftover warm water from the 2010 el Nino but he expressed surprise that the rotation of this water around the north Pacific gyre has taken as long as 7-8 years – this was slower than expected:
Bill Illis April 21, 2015 at 6:36 am
I guess what is interesting is that the time it takes for a complete circulation in the Gyre appears to be longer than I assumed before and longer than one might have thought; 7 or 8 years apparently.
Its ironic that both the NE USA sea level rise and the warm blob are being seen by warmists as proof of climate warming, reasonably enough, but they could signal an oceanic shift to a few decades of reduced warming or even cooling. This should also lead to some Arctic sea ice recovery.

(Dry) James at 48
Reply to  Joe Bastardi
April 28, 2015 1:42 pm

Sound like it’s time to invest in reverse osmosis futures (at least here on the West Coast).

April 27, 2015 12:20 pm

i’ll believe there is really an El Nino when the weather here in SoCal starts acting like there is one.
this spring has been similar to the last two cooler than usual, with fluctuating weather, as was this winter, neither of which was an El Nino, as evidenced by the warm temps and little to no rain, just as in the previous years.
in short, it looks like a battle between The Blob & El Nino, with #Failifornia taking it in the shorts from both sides.

Daryl M
April 27, 2015 12:49 pm

It would be helpful if the graphs showed the threshold levels for el nino or la nina, respectively.

Reply to  Daryl M
April 28, 2015 9:50 am

Hi Daryl M,
which of them would you like to prefer: NOAA = 0,5/-0,5 or BOM = 0,8 or -0,8…?

April 27, 2015 3:31 pm

Since an El Nino is supposed to bring cooler and wetter weather to the OK area, all I can say is THANK YOU!!!!
It is 5:18pm, 49 degrees, rainy and more rain coming up from Texas. According to Mesonet, we’ve had over 2.5″ of a slow soaking rain (not a hard rain that just runs off) in the last 7 days.
Keep on raining…we need it!

April 27, 2015 4:15 pm

Thanks for the good views, Bob.
The SOI has been negative since March 2015.
The ENSO Tracker has been upgraded to El Niño ALERT. This means the likelihood of El Niño developing in 2015 is at least 70%.
Recent warming of the tropical Pacific has primed the ocean for El Niño. International climate models monitored by the Bureau indicate the central Pacific Ocean will continue to warm, with all models indicating El Niño thresholds will be reached or exceeded by mid-year. El Niño increases the chance of a drier than normal winter and spring for eastern Australia.

Reply to  Andres Valencia
April 27, 2015 8:04 pm

The ENSO Tracker has been upgraded to El Niño ALERT. This means the likelihood of El Niño developing in 2015 is at least 70%.
It’s like deja vu all over again.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
May 2, 2014
“From these observations, it appears that a very strong El Niño may be initiated. Forecasters suggest the probability of an El Niño is now above 70%, which is a remarkable estimate considering the time of year.”
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
But it didn’t happen.

Reply to  Khwarizmi
April 28, 2015 9:29 am

Yup – still waiting for el Ninot

Reply to  Andres Valencia
April 28, 2015 1:39 am

April 23, 2015: Weather Bureau tips wet winter ahead for much of Australia
At the same time though, the bureau is saying that’s there’s quite a high chance of an El Nino forming and the El Nino often brings lower than average rainfall to many areas on the east coast of Australia.
How can you have a higher rainfall prediction when there’s quite a higher chance of an El Nino forming as well?
ANDREW WATKINS: Yeah, that’s a very good, very good question.

Eugene WR Gallun
Reply to  handjive
April 28, 2015 3:11 am

This is doublethink (which is a part of newspeak) out of the novel 1984. Doublethink occurs when you accept simultaneously two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.
Conclusion: Big brother controls the weather forecasts in Australia.
Eugene WR Gallun

April 27, 2015 6:49 pm

If El Nino does fully develop, how much you wanna bet it gets no play in Paris this December? They’ll avoid it like the plague and pretend the hotter year it caused was all because of evil humans.

Steve in Seattle
April 27, 2015 8:07 pm

Both papers by Namias are a very interesting read in light of the “blob” and the current state of the Pacific – as mentioned in a previous post reply to a prev article here .

April 27, 2015 8:39 pm

Cryosphere Today – University of Illinois – Polar Research Group – data still missing /not updated on Sea Ice Page for 2 weeks. What is going on? Antarctic ice extent visually seems high.

Reply to  angech2014
April 28, 2015 12:22 am

I’d noticed that. Paranoia says there’s something to hide. Common sense says cock-up.

Richard Barraclough
Reply to  angech2014
April 28, 2015 7:08 am

Are there any other organisations or websites which keep track of these figures?

April 28, 2015 12:14 am

Totally out of season, El Niño continues
to strengthen.
Expect a dog of an Atlantic Hurricane

Pamela Gray
April 28, 2015 5:53 am

Given this scenario, and the fact that we have been on the El Nino side of neutral for quite some time, solar insulation reaching down to the ocean surface in the all important equatorial band is likely pretty weak. Why? Solar reflecting clouds and storm systems have spread across the equatorial band due to the calm and quite warm ocean surface and lack of winds sending clouds Westward. While the ocean is warm at the surface, I am guessing that is because the ocean is coughing up heat, not storing it for a rainy day.

Reply to  Pamela Gray
April 29, 2015 2:38 am


April 28, 2015 7:11 am

Bob Tisdale
Monthly Niño-3.4 index
2014 7 27.30 27.28 0.02
2014 8 26.83 26.92 -0.09
2014 9 27.01 26.83 0.18
2014 10 27.25 26.79 0.46
2014 11 27.57 26.74 0.83
2014 12 27.36 26.69 0.67
2015 1 27.21 26.68 0.53
2015 2 27.31 26.84 0.47
2015 3 27.72 27.34 0.38

Reply to  ren
April 28, 2015 11:49 am

I think the monthly PDO index is more interesting:
201409 0.59
201410 1.35
201411 1.29
201412 1.91
201501 1.73
201502 1.54
201503 1.31

April 28, 2015 7:40 am

The current temperature of the air over the Pacific.

April 28, 2015 1:15 pm

Ice extent in the Antarctic has already greater than in the previous year.

Richard Barraclough
Reply to  ren
April 28, 2015 4:38 pm

Where did you see the most recent figure?

April 28, 2015 9:52 pm

Current absorption of solar radiation.

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