El Niño WATCH cancelled; ENSO neutral likely for 2017

From the “now the warmest year on record hopes are dashed” department:

Via Bloomberg:

All eight climate models surveyed by Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology suggest tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures are likely to remain neutral for the second half, it said on its website on Tuesday. That reverses a June 6 report that showed four models predicting temperatures may exceed El Nino thresholds during the second half of 2017.

The bureau reset its outlook to inactive as the chances of El Nino forming this year fade. The U.S. earlier this month said the odds of it emerging between October and December were 36 percent from 46 percent previously predicted. Forecasts during the southern hemisphere’s autumn tend to have lower accuracy and begin to improve from June. El Nino and its La Nina counterpart can roil agriculture markets as farmers worldwide contend with too much or too little rain.

The bureau canceled its El Nino watch “after an easing of climate model outlooks, and a reversal of the early autumn warming in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean,” it said. “While models have steadily eased back the likelihood of El Nino, most still indicate an increased chance of warmer and drier than average conditions for Australia over winter.”

The previous El Nino ended in May 2016 and was the strongest since the record event of 1997-98. It reduced rainfall in the Indian monsoon and curbed production of cocoa in Ivory Coast, rice in Thailand and coffee in Indonesia.

Far eastern Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures, which were above normal near the Peruvian coast in March and April, cooled during May and June, according to the weather bureau.

Full story

From Ron Clutz:

May Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are now available, and we can see ocean cooling resuming after a short pause from the downward trajectory during the previous 12 months.

HadSST is generally regarded as the best of the global SST data sets, and so the temperature story here comes from that source, the latest version being HadSST3.

The chart below shows the last two years of SST monthly anomalies as reported in HadSST3 including May 2017.

After an upward bump in April 2017 due to the Tropics and NH, the May SSTs show the average declining slightly.  Note the Tropics recorded a rise, but not enough to offset declines in both hemispheres and globally.  SH is now two months into a cooling phase. The present readings compare closely with April 2015, but currently with no indication of an El Nino event any time soon.

Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in February 2016, and steadily declining back to its beginning level. Secondly, the Northern Hemisphere added two bumps on the shoulders of Tropical warming, with peaks in August of each year. Also, note that the global release of heat was not dramatic, due to the Southern Hemisphere offsetting the Northern one.

Full post


63 thoughts on “El Niño WATCH cancelled; ENSO neutral likely for 2017

  1. Yep. The El Nino 3.4 plummeted from its high, rebounded and seemed headed upward again, hit 0.5 anomaly and flat lined. link It’s like Mother Nature has a sense of humor.

    • This is unlike any of the other major El Nino events. What it should be telling scientists is we still have a lot to learn about some of the major climate drivers.

      • Now that is funny.

        As is watching the rent-seeking, trough-feeding “climate scientists” backpeddling as fast as they can in a seemly way, now that there’s a new Uncle Sugar in DC, who’s liable to be there for eight long years, which they know are also likely to show cooling in reality, if not in the books as cooked by the pirates of NOAA, NASA and HadCRU.

  2. The BOM very rarely forecast a negative Enso value. Always positive or neutral. So a neutral forecast is as good as forecasting a La Nina. Watch the temps take a dive this year.

    • What many people fail to acknowledge is that a neutral SST anomaly is just a weaker version of a La Nina type SST anomaly. La Nina is the normal, El Ninos are the exception.

      Trade winds normally blow across the tropical Pacific causing upwelling of cooler water along the South American coast and across the equatorial region due to ekman pumping. This is normal and a La Nina is just a stronger version of that normal pattern.

      If you ignore anomalies and just look at actual SSTs you can see that right now we have a normal or La Nina like cool pattern. We are a long way from an El Nino and the cool anomalies are getting stronger and spreading west across the equator as it normally does at this time of year.

      You can see this here.

  3. It still won’t stop Fairfax and the ABC from spinning it to a story of utter, utter disaster—probably involving the destruction of the universe and your family cat.

  4. It will be Warm somehere.
    Or Wet.
    Or Dry.

    There will always be a chance to spy the end of the world if you look hard enough.

    • And don’t forget cold. Just to advise the global community the southern England has survived three whole days of temperatures of over 30 degrees C. With Glastonbury and Wimbledon we now expect a whole months of rain on one day… or possibly three or four days.

  5. A lot of the recent ocean warmth came from left over warm waters from the 2016 El Nino. Without a big La Nina to push the waters away from the tropics they drifted back. This is probably the reason for the weak El Nino conditions we’ve seen over the past 3 months.

    Then we started to get some upwelling of cooler waters near Peru. This is slowly starting to push the warmers waters westward. This is a negative PDO situation which may mean the positive PDO conditions of the last 3 years is ending.

    If this continues, which seems likely, then it could lead to La Nina or at least get us back to negative ENSO 3.4 anomalies. If a person is hoping for warmer global temperatures this is not a good sign.

  6. Anyone else notice that as the equatorial heat anomalies have been about a half a degree positive, sea level anomalies have been slightly negative?


  7. This is very, very scary.
    The sun is in a slump, the Svensmark cosmic rays are plentiful, and
    now the predicted El Nino is not shown by their “wonderful” (send money) models?

    And the religious bigots in free countries are making heat and foods expensive,
    …claiming everyone must pay more and do with less.

    The strategic goal is to get the grand kids to Alpha Centauri
    …before being beaten by the Chinese.
    Tyranny of the majority with cascading build up of religious opinions is
    …… “not optimal”.

  8. “Note that higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were first of all due to a sharp rise in Tropical SST, beginning in March 2015, peaking in February 2016, and steadily declining back to its beginning level.”

    Higher temps in 2015 and 2016 were due to the SC24 TSI peak in March 2015.

    The cause of the ‘pause’ is overall lower solar activity since 2004, the end of the modern maximum.

    This “iffy” ENSO is struggling from low solar activity, but still has potential, however slight and falling.

    We could be having a mini MEI spike similar to that in the 1983-85 period:

    Another analog is the 2006 ENSO, like today also a few years past the solar cycle maximum, but with one exception: today the long term solar F10.7cm flux average I use is 119.7 sfu/day, whereas on the same date in 2006 it was 124.8, more evidence of the longer term solar energy reduction since 2004.

    Compared to 2017 equatorial ocean heat content, 2006 appears to have started out warmer:

    But on the surface they look very similar in June:

    Warmer waters at high latitudes in 2006 vs colder in 2017:

    SORCE TSI monthlies have been mostly flat in 2017:

    2017 1au TSI F10.7 NOAA SSN
    Jan 1360.7990 77.3 23.6
    Feb 1360.8274 76.9 22.1
    Mar 1360.7426 74.6 15.6
    Apr 1360.7845 81.1 30.5
    May 1360.7944 73.6 17.4
    Jun 1360.8238 75.9 17.3

    2017 1360.7920 76.6 21.3

    A summer TSI bump and NH insolation could help an ENSO get started, but given the long-term solar reduction, the lack of increased solar output recently, and the strong likelihood that TSI won’t increase enough, ENSO3.4 temps will struggle to keep above the 0.5 line for 5 straight months.

    In other words this ENSO could never get started, or keep sustained if started, so we’ll be headed sooner for a repeat of the low solar 2007-8 LaNina, and deeper, 2018-2019, if the solar cycle ends in 2020.

    We’ve still got about another 0.25 W/m^2 of TSI drop-off to go into the solar minimum, if the SORCE data isn’t off too much from degradation, and the solar cycle ends as expected.

    Temps will rebound again towards the end of this cycle then track with the next solar cycle’s activity.

    • Great comment. I have been wondering if it is possible that the reason’s for these somewhat unusual conditions could be due to changes in the Sun, along the lines of what happens during a GSM? What changes cause or augment natural variability to make surface temps plunge?

      • Thank you goldrider. Gives me the chance to correct something. The SC24 monthly max occurred in February of 2015. There were two sizable TSI spikes overlapping Feb and March that made the cycle peak.

        2015 1 1361.5359
        2015 2 1361.8859
        2015 3 1361.6749
        2015 4 1361.6690

        As to the present changes in the Sun, nothing new so far. Today’s Gong magnetogram shows southern activity nearly at a minimum with northern activity far from over. I’m also curious to see how it plays out. Two things to watch for during this solar minimum:

        1.) Will F10.7cm fall below 64 sfu?

        2.) Will SORCE TSI fall below 1360.5-ish W/m^2?

        If it’s degraded as Dr. LS says, what will be its lowest value?

        But I’ll bet those points probably don’t get at what you really want to know…

        So far I don’t think too much of this ‘grand solar minimum’ idea that’s being fervently pitched by the solar alarmist crowd, in terms of its immediacy.

        In the viewpoint I’ve heard repeated many times by the same guys on youtube, is that the next solar cycle is going to be so pitifully low and slow that temps are never going to go back up again, one says until 2100.

        Pure solar alarmism!, often pitched with the faulty cosmic ray theory of solar cooling.

        Just look at the what the lowest solar cycle TSI in 100-200 years did, and imagine a smaller trajectory for a smaller cycle. It’s the cumulative net energy cycle-to-cycle that defines which direction the temperature series will go in the long view, which is entirely dependent on the cycle strength and timing.

        Alarmist statements over a sudden return to Maunder Minimum temperature conditions are usually made without considering the number of low solar cycles it took to reach such low temps, nor the amount of time it takes for the ocean to cool. The MM focus is always on the coldest parts, which are always temporary.

        It’s not like they couldn’t grow food at all back then…

        Solar alarmists don’t seem to realize the next few years are it for cooling, until the next minimum.

        Because SC24 is a “small” cycle, I expect SST at the 2019/20 solar minimum to be below the 2007/8 level, where it started. Should that be the case and the next cycle is similar in size, temps at the end of that cycle should be even lower than the prior minimum coming up, if SC25 is also a “small” cycle. Only then will we see a long-term SST trend going downward. It’s always possible, but…

        If Dr. LS is right and SC25>SC24, you can postpone the ‘grand solar minimum’ for a least one solar cycle.

        If TSI ever drops below 1360.5 for an extended multi-year period, it’s going to get very cold. This happened for a short time during the winter of 2013/14 when deep temp drops occurred as the largest cycle sunspot groups passed by earth-facing and TSI plummeted well below 1360.5. It happens.

        Dr. LS’s work indicates solar minimum TSI drops to a basic floor level, around 1360.5. If he’s right then I think the only way solar activity can significantly lower the temperature in the long run is over many low TSI cycles in a row.

        That said, we will always need to be vigilant and plan for and be able to supply enough food and energy for everyone through the solar minimums, something we should strive to do better as population grows.

      • I’m sorry goldminor. Oops.

        ‘goldrider’ must of sounded good since it reminded me of my one and only ride on a goldwing 1000 @ 140MPH.

      • If Dr. LS is right and SC25>SC24, you can postpone the ‘grand solar minimum’ for a least one solar cycle.

        You can postpone the “grand solar minimum” for at least 300-400 years. Grand solar minima are very rare outside the lows of the Eddy 980 year solar cycle and the Bray 2450 year solar cycle. A grand solar minimum should be expected around 980 years plus minus 100 of the Maunder minimum. A grand solar minimum is not going to take place while we are at the high of the Eddy cycle.

      • Javier…it looks like there is a natural cooling around every 100 years approximately such as around early1900, or 1800 and the Dalton. Would you classify the Dalton as not being a true gsm?

      • Yes, Goldminor. It coincides with a lower solar activity every 104 years, which is a harmonic of the 208 de Vries solar cycle, which essentially is the spacing between grand solar minima in a cluster, like the Wolf/Spörer/Maunder.

        No. the Dalton minimum is not clasified as a grand solar minimum by any author studying Holocene solar activity. There are fartoo many instances in solar activity reconstructions of activity decreases like the Dalton one, while, according to Usoskin there are only 27 grand solar minima during the Holocene. This one has a name because it is very close to us, not because it was grand.

      • @ Bob and Javier…I am not one of the solar alarmists. I don’t expect a return to a MM level cold spell as that occurred in the middle of a Cool Period versus where the current longer trend is now past the middle of this Warm Period, imo. Some regions can still get hit by Dalton level cold temps.

        It is possible that the way above average Greenland smb is a sign of a shifting climate. Also look at the different ssta graphs which all show similar in that large surface areas of the Pacific are less than 1.0 F above average. The Atlantic surface conditions are similar as well. That could lead to a fast shift to a large area of the ocean turning negative. That would mean colder than average surface temps would follow.

      • goldminor, I figured you were curious about it, but not pushing the GSM. You’re right about Greenland and the present ocean cooling. The earth is cooling equator-ward from high latitudes. Arctic sea ice and the many icebergs found floating southward are other good signs of cooling.

        I agree with you about the Dalton scenario except the ocean was colder then and solar activity had not been as persistently strong up to the start of the Dalton as it was during the modern maximum.

        The colder waters and less solar buildup then meant it was ‘easier’ for a drop in temps to happen then than now, as there’s more OHC now as a buffer to counter current & upcoming low solar. Temps dropped 2 degrees from 1804 to 1811, one year after the year with zero sunspots, 1810, according to BEST annual SST data, also partly due to significant volcanic ash through those years.

        TSI is an area of intense debate, illustrated by the many divergent views, composites, and reconstructions.

        Modelled GSM scenarios are modeled differently based on various assumptions for TSI floor level and historical sunspot activity and solar images of the active network versus sunspot area.

        The most alarming scenario is also the most likely to not happen; see pages 7 & 8 here, and ask

        Is the heliospheric potential curve and forecast on page 7 right?
        Will TSI really go below 1360.5 for so long as shown on page 8?
        Are the TSI reconstruction(s) correct?

        CMIP6 model results will be junk if any of the three above are wrong.

      • Here is something which caught my attention several nights ago. Spaceweather.com was showing that the solar wind density had dropped to near zero. This was on their 2 hour window along with solar wind speed, and 2 IMF functions. At the time all the solar parameters were running low, but I have never noted seeing wind density drop to zero for at least the several hours depicted on their current 2 hour chart. It made me wonder how often does that happen?

      • what we might see with this upcoming solar minimum are perhaps more “blocking events for the temperate zones in the NH. It has been studied that the northern jet stream does meander more during solar minima.

        That proces also may explain why during the LIA there were those “extreme” years and normal years and yes even “hot years”: it all depends on the timing of the blocking: when it appears during winter it is extremely cold in europe, when it happens in the summer you’re grilled by a heatwave.

        more info is here: http://principia-scientific.org/low-solar-activity-correlated-to-jet-stream-blocking-say-scientists/

        this is already what we are seeing in europe: blockings that do occur. depending on the location and timings i think (i really stress think) we even can see or a “rise and fall” or just stagnation of global temp but a real big drop? you need successive low solar cycles for that….

  9. From the medical profession: “Common conditions occur commonly”

    We have several clear patterns within the recent record that neutral or La Nina conditions follow an El Nino. Big events puff themselves out. A smart 16 yr old kid could have predicted this by just looking at a temperature graph covering the 20th century

    Why did they expect this one to be any different? One again the models were WRONG! How much money has been wasted of these infernal models? Kids playing on toys

  10. To me, it suggests that, despite religious plainsong to the contrary, the science is not settled in many important ways.
    Please now send my cheque (‘check’ for the good folk on the other side of the Pond) from Big Oil, Big Coal, Big Nuclear, Big Whatever.

    Mods – the bit about money transfer is /Sarc.
    But the science not – emphatically not – being settled, is straight up.

  11. Is it just me or is heat transfer from equator to pole stalling?
    (i.e. both AMOC and N Pacific Gyre)

  12. I’ve been saying since last February that an El Niño in 2017 was very unlikely. They can throw away their models and use their heads instead. Where is the energy for a new El Niño going to come from? Why does El Niño have a frequency of about 2-5 years? A new La Niña would speed up the recharge of energy from the sun, but we haven’t had one.

    2017 has very low probability of El Niño.
    2018 has a higher probability of a La Niña than El Niño.

    This means no new El Niño until 2019 or 2020. Temperatures will probably drift down towards the 2001-2014 average.

  13. “I’ve been saying since last February that an El Niño in 2017 was very unlikely. They can throw away their models and use their heads instead. Where is the energy for a new El Niño going to come from?”

    You could have asked yourself that exact question in 2006, when there was in fact an ENSO. Why in 2006 under closely similar conditions did we have an ENSO yet in 2017 we think we won’t? What is the deciding factor this year, if its not what I earlier described? I’m not saying I disagree with you either.

    A 2017 ENSO would only be possible from residual heat from the last few years being built upon by this summer’s sun.

    “Why does El Niño have a frequency of about 2-5 years?”

    Frequency is probably not the best parameter, rather formation time & conditions, and duration.

    Generally an 11 year solar cycle will have at least two ENSOs, giving your 5 year figure. The MEI image below indicates ENSO conditions dominated during the strong TSI cycles 21 & 22, from about 1977-1996, twenty years. The repeating peaks during those years give your 2 year figure.

    One ENSO at the start of the cycle from the rapid rising phase in cycle TSI, such as in 2009-10, lasting 1-3 years into the cycle including ensuing LaNina.

    One ENSO after the top of the cycle, such as in 2015-16, lasting one to several years depending on cycle strength

    One ENSO in the declining phase, such as in 2006.

    “A new La Niña would speed up the recharge of energy from the sun, but we haven’t had one.”

    The solar TSI drop-off thus far has reduced ocean cloud formation, opening up higher insolation over the ocean, warming it up where the clouds aren’t, however weakly:

    Your ‘recharge’ is happening right now Javier!

    • More insight is gained by looking at ENSO frequency during the Holocene. During the Holocene Climatic Optimum ENSO frequency was very low and the planet was in a prolonged La Niña conditions. ENSO frequency has been growing during the past 7000 years as the planet cooled. El Niño is not associated with a warm planet, but with a planet with an increasing meridional (Equator-Polar) temperature gradient. ENSO frequency for the past 100 years has not been particularly high and decreasing with global warming.

      El Niño appears to be the heat equivalent of an electric arc. When subsurface ocean heat becomes too high for oceanic meridional transport and the conditions are right, the heat accumulates at the El Niño regions and jumps to the atmosphere. It is a planetary heat dissipation mechanism as a significant amount of the heat leaves the planet.

      La Niña conditions produce unusually low level of clouds and the ocean is warmed more as less energy is deflected from albedo. The temperature jumps in the record do not take place after big El Niño, but after the La Niña that follows them.

      After the last big El Niño a lot of energy has been dissipated. It has to be recharged before another El Niño can take place. Yes, it is being recharged now, but not sufficiently for back-to back El Niños.

      That we mistake El Niño energy dissipation with global warming is a sign of the sorry state of climatology.

  14. Following the breaking 2017-18 El Nino dud, Ian Wilson’s predictions for El Nino’s (dated from before the 2015-16 El Nino) are still valid. Next El Nino in 2019.

    “The first prediction is that because we are currently
    in a 31 year Full Moon Epoch for El Nino events.
    Hence, there should be heightened probability of
    experiencing a strong El Nino in the following years:
    Astro-Climate-Connection http://astroclimateconnection.blogspot.com.au/
    9 of 27 15/11/2014 8:16 AM
    2015-2016 (see figure 1)
    2019-2020 and
    as these are the years where the lunar line-of-apse
    aligns with the Sun at the times of the Equinoxes.
    The second prediction is that, starting sometime
    around the year 2021, we should begin to see El
    Ninos events that are more typical of the sequencing seen
    for the New Moon Epochs (i.e. they will be triggered
    when the line-of-apse aligns with the Sun at the
    times of the Solstices). These times could include:
    2022-23 (?) and
    Of there is always the caveat that we currently moving
    into an extended period of low solar activity which
    could reduce the the overall intensity of El Nino events
    out to at least the mid 2030’s”.

    • I wouldn’t be very surprised if Ian turned to be up to something with his lunar hypothesis for ENSO. There appears to be a strong correlation between ENSO and changes in length of day (LOD), and LOD is very much affected by the Moon. When the Earth rotates at a slightly different speed, this causes profound changes in the atmosphere to preserve momentum, and changes in wind patterns areone of the driving forces behind ENSO.

      A fascinating issue that should be investigated seriously. After all nobody understands ENSO, so we should not discard hypotheses out of hand.

  15. Is this what triggered the recent round of “well maybe there is a pause” announcements? It seems like they are seeing whats coming (or maybe isnt coming) and need something to be able to point to at the end of the year (a long time in the publics mind).

  16. Predictions of el Nino for 2017-2018 were never anything more than wishful thinking.
    We’ll be in el Nada for a while.

  17. ‘After all nobody understands ENSO…’ ….sure… nobody… right…

    Well then my name is nobody.

    ENSOs are not so ‘unknown’ or mysterious.

    The ‘El Nada’ is a consequence of the sun now being under the long-term solar F10.7cm flux warming/cooling breakeven value of 120 sfu I established in 2014 and successfully used in predicting the ensuing ENSO. This level was breached in the cooling direction in February this year, presently at 119.7 sfu.

    The present Pacific ‘recharge’ is very sporadic and probably won’t last long anywhere, perhaps building up some as summer proceeds. The seven day SST anomaly difference image below shows surface warming now in the Pacific mainly under the current sub-solar point, indicating weak solar heating under mostly clear skies in the northern tropical zone.

    I earlier presented the only possible way for it to be different this year, and so far that other possibility hasn’t materialized. There won’t be anything to get excited about unless ENSO3.4 is over 0.5 for 4 months.

    This year’s data so far has passed another test of my solar model since 2014 – so far so good.

  18. Again(and again). A complete lack of understanding of even the shortest term ocean-atmospheric interaction.

  19. There just isn’t enough warm water. The western Pacific warm pool is too tepid and hemmed in by cold water to generate the “expected” rebirth of El Nino. Sea temperatures in the ENSO region are decoupling from the usual progression of these things and cold water is entering the equatorial band, not by upwelling in the eastern Pacific, but by cold wedges entering from both N and S. All major hot ‘blobs’ were quickly replaced by cold Blobs in both hemispheres.

    This means even if the ENSO region doesn’t show a definite La Nina signature, cooling is going to resume down into La Nina conditions globally. We are going to see the Pause come back with a vengeance. Can’t the bureaucrats who make a lucrative living out of watching this every day see this obvious development?

    Here in Eastern Ontario, except for a few 30C days, this has been a ‘year without summer’. It went down 6C on the longest day night. I’ve refused to put the heat back on, and now the days are getting shorter. My wife was in Moscow recently and she had to buy a jacket there because of the he cold. There is going to be a lot of fiddling with data except perhaps in the US, where Trump is looking over their shoulder.

    Under Trump the worst of them are now buying into the Pause but rationalizing that it won’t effect CAGW. Go figure. Mosher has been a bit quiet after this betrayal – we may see him less quick to defend all the hotshot scientists. They also left him and crunchers with a no-Pause BEST to re adjust back to get into line.

  20. latest enso 3.4 at .7C and SOI for month approaching -8 threshhold. That being said, this el nino was not going to cause any more warming as if it occurs ( and already the Modoki look is evident in the actually SST’s in 3.4) cooling in the rest of the oceans more than offset it
    Since the current 3 month forecast shows a weak 3.4 centered warm enso ( the cfsv2 has not been as bullish)

    and SST’s west of Australia and forecasted MSLP are above normal much of the time the next 6 weeks, another burst of westerlies like we just had which raised the Enso 3.4 to .7 is certainly on the table.

    All this being said the weak Modoki type enso forecasted by the JAMSTEC model
    ENSO forecast:
    “A chance of El Niño occurrence is much reduced. Instead, warmer-than-normal sea surface temperature is predicted for the whole tropical Pacific. This condition will persist until boreal fall. Then, it will evolve into a weak El Niño/El Niño Modoki by early winter. ” is golden for lovers of snow and cold in the winter in the east! 02-03 for instance was a modoki as were 14-15, 76-77,77-78. the holy grail of winters to some. In fact it was those 2 winters that were a the thick of the ice age hysteria. Would be a hoot to see that again. Then we can here how warming is causing cooling

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