Will There Be A 2018/19 El Niño?

Guest Post by Bob Tisdale

Looks like one may be forming right now.

Judith Curry published the post ENSO forecast for 2018 yesterday. On the thread (here) I asked and stated:

Judith, the question that needs answering: Are weather conditions right for a series of westerly wind bursts in the western tropical Pacific? Without westerly wind bursts to initiate downwelling Kelvin waves, there will be no El Niño.

So this morning I checked with the NOAA GODAS website, and, yes, there have been westerly wind bursts this year. See the hovmoller plot of the “Surface zonal wind stress anomaly” from the GODAS Pentad Anomaly Products webpage (my Figure 1 below).

Figure 1

Then it was time to check the subsurface temperature anomalies for the equatorial Pacific. And they can be found at the NOAA CDC webpage here. See animation 1 below. A downwelling Kelvin wave is already making its way across the equatorial Pacific.

Animation 1

So to answer the title question, it obviously appears the initial phases of the processes that initiate an El Niño are already in progress.

Will an El Niño in 2018/19 be strong enough to permanently raise global sea surface temperatures?

Only time will tell. And if you’re wondering how a strong El Niño can (and does) raise global sea surface temperatures permanently, then you obviously haven’t read my ebook Dad, Why Are You A Global Warming Denier? – A Short Story That’s Right for the Times, which is available in Kindle ebook and in paperback editions. In that book, I’ve explained how a strong El Niño can (and does) raise global sea surface temperatures permanently so simply that an eight-year-old can understand it. How do I know? In real life, I explained it to an eight year old, and he understood, no problem. BTW, I have not discussed, and have no intention of discussing, that very simple aspect of strong El Niños in a blog post.



newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Andrew Bennett

I think on one of his weekly free recordings Joe Bastardi did say about a El Nino Modoki for the end of the year so very interested to see other people coming out with similar thoughts.

Pop Piasa

Joe uses the southern oscillation index also in predicting ENSO states. I think that it was what he pointed to when he discussed the possibility of a mild summer-fall El Nino event. It was a few weeks ago.


One good thing about El Niño for we Gulf coast and Florida folks is less chances for big tropical storms.
Least, that is what I thot one of the storm gurus hypothesized.

M Courtney

Weather, not climate. Although interesting none the less.
Hmm, has their been a change in the frequency of El Nino events?
That would be climate.

Coach Springer

I may need a recap of the history of El Nino and La Nina to assess claims by activists that always find a way to imply that the sun rising in the morning never happened quite like that before..


ive been watching the enso dial and was happy to see it move to slightly towards the minus point 1 zone..but it only did that foe a few days after weeks at neutral mildly near the neg side..than it zoomed back to that same damned place again
we aussies want a la nina thanks, please please…sigh;-/ grrr woof


Sorry aussie, Texas needs an el nino to bust this drought.


The problem with La Nina or an ENSO forecast for 2018 or any year early on. The forces, while known to some degree, become more and more unpredictable the further out one goes in time.
Basically the system is one in which a fuel load, the sun, puts a slightly variable amount of heat through a much more unpredictable and variable cloud cover which alters the amount of heat received and more importantly where and when it is received as well as how quickly it can radiate out.
On top of this the air and ocean currents capriciously help retain or emit heat in response to this and to their flow patterns which are also altered by the heat uptake and discharge irregularities.

Hence the system moves between uptaking and discharging heat in patterns which can go from days to several years but eventually must return to the mean.

Forecasting in advance is possible for up to 3 months as the ocean currents move slowly and retain heat well. The air currents have less predictability usage but generally go in a set direction.

All one can say is that when the trend departs from zero in either direction one is both closer to achieving an El Nino/La Nina as there is less distance to travel and further away from it happening as the excess or underweight of heat in the system will try to drive it back to neutral.

For 3 months we can predict where it should go. After that, it should always be a coin toss.


El Ninos and La Ninas come & go.


Los Niños and Las Niñas.

Don B

Bien! 🙂


Those too!

Pop Piasa

They’re having their day
In the heat of the ‘son’
‘Till this baby boy leaves
And his cold sister comes.
When sea ice has grown
They’ll fret and they’ll moan-
“Just look at what mankind has done!”

Has there been a significant increase in seismic activity to precipitate it? If not, I suggest NO is the answer. Needs some serious primary energy input to get those oceans boiling………….possibly.comment image?dl=0


5.2 Earthquake Wednesday on Islands off SoCal coast. Pre-quake to the Big One?

Pop Piasa

Interesting coincidence of ENSO positive extremes and seismic activity. How does your “primary energy input” influence the atmospheric pressure events known to regulate ENSO?

Can’t say too much as paper is still pre-submission. Don’t agree the atmosphere is anything more than a consequence of the ocean heating that dominates the circulation model BTW. The atmosphere does not control the oceans that have 1,000 times more thermal capacity, and which absorb the majority of incoming solar radiation, and pass it back to the atmosphere in water vapour condensation and conduction/convection. Yes, the atmosphere’s structure determines how the heat moves around once free of the ocean, but it is not causal. The atmospheric centric climate model is a bassackwards way to understand climate, driven by over ambitious meteorologists who believe that forecasts prove science. It just ain’t so. Follow the heat energy. The oceans drive the climate, heat the atmosphere and control long term temperature. How else can things work when the oceans have 1,000 times more heat that the atmosphere and are in direct contact across 2/3 of the Earth’s surface? etc.


Very interesting, Brian… i’ve been wondering myself about this. My thinking is that the geothermal heat is what is making the land data rise faster than the sea surface. This land warming warms the atmosphere which in turn keeps SSTs warmer than they otherwise would be. (a warmer sea surface, and thus charging western warm pool, eventually means an el nino) Not so sure about warming impacts from the sea floor. Keep talking as there is much about this to learn…
p.s. thanx for the graph


footnote~ northern hemispheric land temps are rising fastest, followed by northern SSTs, and lastly southern SSTs. That sequence is why I think that the land temps are driving SSTs. (But, then again i’ve got a lot to learn)…


Magnitude 7, 8 & 9 don’t count?

Ian H

This is nonsense; if anything causation runs the other way. The ocean oscillations move big heavy masses of water in the pacific which I could conceive as perhaps encouraging the plate to move. However the mechanical energy released by earthquakes isn’t converted to heat energy in the oceans. It is converted to heat energy deep in the crust where it is already plenty hot, and where it then mostly stays. It would take a very long time indeed for heat generated a mile deep in the crust to make its way to the surface.

Your criticism is welcome but presumptive and also wrong in nature. I didn’t suggest the mechanical movement was the cause, the simplest idiot can see that would not be the case, not enough energy. Just that there is a clear correlation, cause TBD (w.i.p.). As for the actual data, why is that nonsense? Have you data that disproves this correlation? Let’s see what happens. You may be surprised – as well as wrong on your presumption and the actual facts.


Bob, I just bought your book, so I will know a lot more shortly. I do have a quick question. When I look at the AMO, the cooling (which we are seeing now) seems to come from an upwelling of cold water from the deep ocean. With an El Nino, is the warmth just from the wind pushing heated tropical Pacific surface water or is there an upwelling like with the AMO. Just curious. It is not intuitively obvious why a strong El Nino would cause a permanent increase in sea surface temperature.

El Nino simple:
1. Normal: Trade winds are driving sun heated water 17.000 km from America towards Australia / Indonesia, piling it up there one half meter. Same time the heated water is also stored there some hundred meters deep.
2. El Nino: When the trade winds stop, all the water Water is swapping back towards America, releasing all that mighty amount of heat into the atmosphere.
3. La Nina: When the Trade winds are starting again, cold water from the depht of the coast of America / Humboldt Stream is sucked up and cools / does not heat the atmosphere. La Nina is a STRONG normal state.


What do you mean “Permanently” ? I certainly don’t believe that if you mean into the next 1000 years or more – you cannot possibly know, surely? Do you mean that La Nina will not happen ever again “the bitch” as I call her !!!


I have done some analysis of this.
The “Permanent” effect peaks about 10 years after the ENSO event, and gradually decays thereafter.
It works equally for El Nino and La Nina.
What affects the long term global atmospheric temperature is when there are several successive or strong ‘El Ninos’ without corresponding La Ninas, as happened in the 1990s, or the opposite, with several successive or strong ‘La Ninas’ without corresponding ‘El Ninos’, as happened in the 1950s and 1970s.

Pop Piasa

Don’t forget to factor in the coexistence of the other ocean oscillations and their respective states when attempting to teleconnect to past continental weather patterns. That’s where history tells more than modelling.

Wondering that myself. By “permanently,” he obviously doesn’t mean permanently, and yet he uses the word a number of times without defining it.

Boulder Skeptic

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” — Inigo Montoya


“Long-lasting” would be better than “permanent”, as in years to a decade, not two or three decades, as would be required to register as a climatic phenomenon.


And if you’re wondering how a strong El Niño can (and does) raise global sea surface temperatures permanently, then you obviously haven’t read my ebook

The increase in global temperature is not due to El Niño, but to La Niña. El Niño constitutes an outburst of heat from the ocean subsurface to the atmosphere, with a great deal of it leaving the planet. It is energy from within the system moving out of the system. It is during strong La Niña events when the reduced cloud cover over the Pacific opens the doors to more solar energy entering the system and ending up warming the ocean surface and the world. It is after the 2000 La Niña when global temperatures increased, not after the 1998 El Niño. A similar jump took place after the back to back 1974-76 Las Niñas.


Of course Javier, that depends on where the La Nina occurs in relation to the solar cycle.
If, as is the case today, La Nina occurs at a solar cycle minimum, then, according to Dr. Svensmark’s theory, there are more cosmic rays hitting the earth, causing increased cloud cover and counteracting the effect that you propose.
Is it a coincidence that a simultaneous La Nina and Solar Cycle Minimum coincide with the coldest winter and spring that we have seen for many decades (at least in much of North America and Europe)!

I agree and therefore ENSO will remain neutral. The ocean has accumulated too little heat. The meridional jet stream in winter will equalize the temperature in the South Pacific.


Svensmark’s hypothesis is not supported by evidence. The amount of cosmic rays hitting the Earth depends mainly on the variations of the strength of the Geomagnetic field, and much less on the variations of the Interplanetary magnetic field. Since the changes in the climate of the Earth do not correlate with the changes in the strength of the Geomagnetic field, it is clear that the effect of cosmic rays on Earth’s climate can only be very small.
The cloud effect over the Pacific is regardless of the solar cycle, since it is due to surface temperature, evaporation and prevailing winds.

Better read Svensmark again. Also Nir Shaviv, and others they reference.The paper explains what the effects of charged particles from cosmic rays, mainly protons of 100GeV or more, are on the atmosphere, all the way down to the surface. Pair and Muon production down to surface and below – regular and heavy electrons so charged particles. In particular these have an effect that increases the nucleation of clouds, with practical experiments that have been conducted to test and validate that effect. The evidence for this is far more convincing than CO2 as a runaway highly sensitive influnce that can cause runaway climate change, we know it can’t. Band satuario effect, plus, plus…no clear correlation over climate change time perids.
The Earth’s field is not what stops the very high energy Proton fluxes of cosmic rays, probably from Super Novas in our galaxy, reaching the Earth in normal amounts. It’s solar activity that creates electromagnetic fields that reduce the positively charged cosmic proton flux impacting on Earth.. Simple, but not at all what you say is the Svesmarks model above. Perhaps the most telling effect on the climate, versus what I would define as short term weather of only a lifetime or two, is the correlation of solar activity with global temperature, far closer than CO2, which, of course, is actually zero or strongly negative for significant periods in both the industrial and pre-industrial record.
Never mind what the virtual reality CGI climate modellers assert and feed to their atmospheric weather forecasting on steroids models, which is inherently biased by their unprovable guesses and limited by both the limited range of variables and data set density, what actually happens should be the focus of real science.
Science has to consider each actual effect that shows correlation of variability, not pick winners like some bookmaker, and adjust the odds to make a profit. The models have not and do. They simply assign any variable that isn’t the one they want to prove guilty the status of insignificant/low sensitivity, without testing that assumption thoroughly, and the majority of actual variation to their chosen variables. Note these may well not be causes, and may be consequences, but the modellers assign them sensitivity that says they are. This is statistical modelling, not arising directly from proven physical laws
As for permanent El Nino heating, no there is not. Obs. The planet is cooing long term, has been for Billions of years. Humans don’t live long enough to notice the long term effects of climate change, Just regional weather, except in the most marginal environments, where there is plenty of time to move, think Vikings and Greenland. Simple facts of published science and climate record that takes minutes to validate.
PS Why the obsession with ENSO and the US, that’s not global climate, that’s regional weather, a parochial viewpoint. Many of the marginal areas that are threatened by climate have many other factors at work, some of them man made and nothing to do with the actual climate. Maldives is a classic, a coral island chain 2.4 Metres above sea level where the natural state is growing out of the ocean to stayjust above the waves as the extinct volcanic ridge beneath sinks. Building on this was a bad idea; One good Tsunami and the temporary human organic froth is gone., and it will be all their own fault. Nothing to do with AGW or climate change.


You have not answered to my objection to Svensmark’s hypothesis. The upper panel in this figure represents the change in cosmic rays hitting the atmosphere, according to the Δ¹⁴C proxy.comment image
It shows that cosmic rays depend mainly on the intensity of the geomagnetic field. It also shows that the change during the Holocene towards less cosmic rays has been accompanied by climate cooling, opposite to what Svensmark’s hypothesis requires. The hypothesis must necessarily be wrong and cosmic rays cannot have a significant effect on climate.


…the change during the Holocene towards less cosmic rays has been accompanied by climate cooling, opposite to what Svensmark’s hypothesis requires.
Javier, is this of necessity true? There are different drivers of the climate. So, Svensmark’s hypothesis could mean only that temperatures have been warmer than they otherwise would have been. (you’re sounding an awful lot like your good buddy Leif here… ☺) The threshold may be enough to affect temperatures, but not enough to affect the over all trend…

Pamela Gray

Always I learn something from your posts. Funny how some people think an El Nino event isn’t climate, just weather. Must not have spent much time reading journal articles about the lagged teleconnections between El Nino events and weather pattern changes 6 months and more down the road on a global basis.


Six months is still weather. Six years is still weather.
Climate is the average of weather over 30 years at a minimum, but 300, 3000, 30,000, 300,000, three million or 30 million years is more meaningful. The climate of the past three and 30 million years has been and remains remarkably cold. We’re warmer than 300, 30,000 and 300,000 years ago, but cooler than 3000. The long-term trend is cooling, which is worrisome.
If over 30 years, there is a preponderance of Los Niños over Las Niñas, or vice versa, then we’re talking climate.

John F. Hultquist

The “30” year number is plucked from discussions about reporting weather — in the 1930s; namely what would be a good manner of reporting and comparing, such that a reasonable adult could relate to the weather reports.
Whatever “30” has to do with climate is about as relevant as 350 has to do with CO2, or 2 Celsius degrees has to do with a catastrophic climatic tipping point.
“3” is a Prime number, and a favorite topic, so use it all you want. However, it is not a better number than 5.


Fifty years would also be a good unit of climate.
The distinction between weather and climate need not be 30 years, but needs to be decades. Thirty is actually pretty good, though, since there are 60 year cycles. But the longer, the better.
Six months is not climate.

Pop Piasa

Weather is a movie, for sure.
Is climate also like a movie only in time-lapse, or is it more a slide show of collected snapshots?


Ideally the average of as many snapshots as possible, taken at the same times daily for decades.
NOAA and NASA define “climate” as “long-term averages of daily weather”. The conventional interval for “long-term” is 30 years, as in the moving baselines used for temperature.
NOAA: “In most places, weather can change from minute-to-minute, hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and season-to-season. Climate, however, is the average of weather over time and space.”

Pop Piasa

I think that 60 years is better than 30, just because of what you mentioned, Chimp. In my seventh decade I no longer believe in a drastic trend that was supposed to have happened over the last two climate “segments” when there has only been observed repeats of the same stuff I remember from youth. My father said the same thing when he was 90.


I agree that 60 is better than 30.
The average of observations from 1946 to 2005 would show not much warming, if any, since there was so much cooling from 1946 to 1977. From 1977 to 2006 might look scary, but be misleading, as just half a cycle.
Earth started warming around 1690, with ups and downs. But it has been cooling long-term at least since the Minoan Warm Period, ~3000 years ago, if not from the Holocene Optimum, ~5000 years ago.
Hence, the longer the unit of climate (average WX), the better.


Looked at longer-term, the over 10,000 years of warming which started in the depths of the Last Glacial Maximum (Heinrich Event 1, ~18 to 15 ka BP) ended with the Holocene Climatic Optimum or Minoan WP, ie peak warmth of the Holocene interglacial.

Well said. The one key thing that worriers have on their side is a total selfishness about what happens in their brutally short, fearful and usually irrelevant lives whose insignificance also applies to me and most of humanity on a planetary scale. The Planet will carry on pretty much as it wants, we are insignficant organic froth in the carbon and water cycle it supports, that last for less than a blink of an eye. So we might as a well enjoy it, and use every opportunity our intelligence allows us to develop things that make our short lives easier and more fulfilling, and protect us as best we can from natural disasters and disease. Why not? That’s what the Malthusian worriers really don’t want, or at least are fighting to deny to the worse off in their own societies and all those in LDCs – sharing these developments with the majority of humanity who have not yet had this opportunity. 11 Billion happy developed people will be fine, and more peaceful, which is good as nation states are going to disappear when the ice comes and relocation will be a matter of survival for those in Temperate lattitudes. I wonder what they will be saying about the delusional science denial of 21st Century religion of disastrous climate warming from the gas that couldn’t, and was the basis for our physical form and existence, when the obvious next big thing was another ice age they failed to prepare for?


Perhaps a 60-year duration is the minimum requirement to get a feel of climate trends because 30-year PDO and AMO warm/cool cycles have such a large impact on global warming and cooling trends.
There has been a 100% direct correlation between PDO 30-year warm/cool cycles and overall global temp trends over the course of 30-yr PDO warm/cool cycles since 1850 (different colors represent each PDO cycle):
We’ve been in a 30-yr PDO cool cycle since 2008, however, the 2015/16 Super El Niño has so far prevented normal PDO cool-cycle global cooling from appearing, however, I expect when: the 30-year AMO/NAO cool cycles start around 2022, we get a strong La Niña event, the Grand Solar Minimum starts in 2021, and we get a VEI 6+ volcanic event (which is overdue), a global cooling trend from 2008 should become apparent.
We’ll see soon enough.


Bruce Cobb

Uh-oh, el nino
Now the know-nothing Warmos will be crowing
See? We told you so!


Looks like a bigger warm pool than last year.
But my money is on weak short lived El Nino this summer with reformation of La Nina this fall.

It would be interested to know what process (if anything) is driving this repeated series of El Nino cycles.


It’s mainly a mechanical complex oscillator driven by the rotation of Earth.


You tend to be among those cheering on an el Nino but I’m not so sure this time. Rising Nino temps are climatology for spring. The latest NOAA predicts near neutrality till year end:comment image
OK it looks like a Kelvin wave. But SOI, OLR and trade winds and Peruvian upwelling are all still high/ strong.

Ian Wilson

There is a possibility of an El Nino starting in 2018 that is a part of a continuing 9.05-year sequence for the starting dates of El Ninos:
1982.3 / 1991.4 / (2000.4) / 2009.5 / 2018.5 [with a half sequence at 1986.9]
These El Ninos belong to those that start when the line-of-apse of the lunar orbit points towards the Sun at the times of Summer and Winter Solstices.
This contrast with the El Nino sequence:
1997.3 / 2006.4 / 2015.4 / 2024.5 [with half sequences at 2001.9 / 2006.4 / 2020.0 ?]
These El Ninos belong to those that start when the line-of-apse of the lunar orbit points towards the Sun at the times of Vernal and Autumnal Equinoxes.

Interesting thought. +10

C Arder

I’ve long wondered how tidal effects (lunar position), along with earth’s rotation, affect such things as AMO, PDO, Curry and ? ‘s stadium wave, and Los Niños/Las Niñas. Anyone have a handy link? Tx!

Ian Wilson

You might be interested in the discussion at my blog site astroclimateconnection(dot)blogspot(dot)com(dot)au for November 2014. There is a series of four posts that cover the topic I have discussed above.

Pop Piasa

Fascinating correlations, it’d be a good phenomenon on which to take up research, as long as you put “climate change” somewhere in the grant application.


I would bet on No, any current warming is most likely just seasonal.

Welcome back Bob, and thank you for the post.

Andrew Hamilton

I’ve missed Bob.


It would be unusual to have even a “weak” El Nino sooner than 3 years after the last “very strong” one.


Than you for the graph. Very nice presentation.

@ RH …excellent ENSO graph thanks.


No, just a usual strong second El Nino which the books will show you occurs at a normal, though longer average than a single strong El Nino.
Not unusual at all. Just less often.


Javier @ 10:15 a.m.,
When other factor affecting climate are properly accounted for, I find a significant (level of confidence 10E-20) correlation between Global Temperatures (Hadcrut4) and the solar cycle, as characterized by the Sunspot Number.
The magnitude of the effect is somewhat smaller than , but of the same order of magnitude as, the short term effect of ENSO, (i.e. not counting the ‘Permanent” effect that Tisdale mentions in his post).

Gary Pearse

Bob, I think something a bit extraordinary is happening. There is no appreciable warm pool and here is today’s wind directions and temp anomaly (lower panel).
And re warm pool.

A characteristic of El Nino´s seems to be the release of enormous amounts of ocean heat. I was stunned by the corresponding fall in sea level:
«The excess subsurface ocean heat in the Western Pacific / Western Pacific rapidly resurfaced and was then released to the atmosphere during 2014–2015 …. Compared to 2013, the Western Pacific Ocean Heat Content shows a significant drop by about 4.0–5.2 × 10E22 J in 2015 …. Our results indicate that in addition to the natural and normal amount of ocean heat release, the strong 2015/2016 El Niño also completely released the ocean heat accumulated in the North Western Pacific during 1993–2012 … The intense heat release resulted in a drastic sea level fall in the North Western Pacific by up to 300 mm during 2013–2015 … As a consequence, the once fastest sea level rise east of the Philippines as evidenced in altimetry data tends to subside after the 2014–2015 event…»
Big Jump of Record Warm Global Mean Surface Temperature in 2014–2016 Related to Unusually Large Oceanic Heat Releases

Your comment makes me think of something which the JG/U 2K study shows. That is that during warm trends, the warming trend typically ends with a sharp/rapid fall to colder temps. I have been wondering what clues might be related to those rapid declines, and I think that your comment hits the mark.
I expect to see negative/La Nina conditions into mid 2020 according to the clues which I follow.


When it comes to the condition and time and climate, and observations plus hypothetical stands, as far as the subject in this particular, it happens to be simple in an approachd angle of estimation.
Three probabilities for the 2018/19, ENSO neutral, La Nina or El Nino.
My question will be simple, which of this conditions could be less problematic, or which could the most “benign” in comparison . In which one of these given possible conditions the volatility of Polar Vortex could be more less problematic for the NH during winter months.
See the approach at this point is that, there is no La Nina in the cards for 2018/19.
How bad that could be, or not, during next winter!!!!
Still main point, relation in accordance with winters and Polar Vortex impact, during winter months in NH, no much significance about NH summer time there, to consider, unless acrobatics in temp explanations as per AGW position.


Are you sure about this? As of NOW, a large amount of very cold water has just welled-up around the Galapagos Islands. How can this be?

Another Ian



Interesting. Two very different stories. This is what I was talking about http://www.ospo.noaa.gov/data/sst/anomaly/2018/anomnight.4.5.2018.gif

michael hart

Will an El Niño in 2018/19 be strong enough to permanently raise global sea surface temperatures?

Hmmm… “permanently” raise global sea surface temperatures for how long? Permanently for six weeks, six permanent months, or permanently for six years, decades? I’m sure everyone has their own idea of what permanent means.
One thing I will permanently bet on, however, is that California will still refuse nature-sent opportunities to replenish water reservoirs for a decade yet. They should have taken the last drought as a sign to increase water storage capacity, but they refused. Nature may not offer them many more opportunities before the-drought-that-counts arrives.


Not sure where Bob gets this from. Should read his book I guess. In a slowly rising temp world an El Nino might lead to a rise in the sense that the accumulated energy had held atmospheric temperatures back for a while. Permanent ??
Only if on an up elevator , in neutral conditions it would drop with the next La Nina.

charles nelson

Will there be an el nino?
I’m reminded of story of the two prisoners (both gambling addicts) who would make bets on whether or not a fly would land on the wall!

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral – neither El Niño nor La Niña. The ENSO Outlook is INACTIVE, meaning there is little sign of El Niño or La Niña developing in the coming months.“.
– Australian Bureau of meteorology ‘ENSO Wrap-up’ (http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/) issued 27 March 2018 (next issue 10 April 2018). If I remember correctly, they say that ENSO is very difficult to forecast from before about June to after.

charles nelson

Predictions are very difficult to make…especially where they concern ‘the future’!


BOM has a different ENSO threshold to NOAA. From memory BOM use 5 overlapping seasons (3-month periods) at +/- 0.8C of the long term average SST in ENSO 3.4; whereas NOAA use 5 overlapping seasons at +/- 0.5C.
Looks like NOAA are calling the period from JAS 2017 to JFM 2018 a La Nina episode (coloured blue on the linked table).


Sorry, should be SON 2017 to JFM 2018.


BOM seem to be desperately hoping this La Nina will go away soon – before it destroys their narrative.

Pop Piasa
Pop Piasa

I’d like to see which way the winds are blowing.

Pop Piasa

You might use earth.nullschool.net to look back a ways. You would need a program that would harvest the data available and produce a similar graphic of wind patterns during that same period. I’m not sure that there isn’t already something like that available… anybody know without looking it up?

Pop Piasa

(Be wiser than I and check those file extensions before posting)


Reminds me of February 2017, when almost every model was convinced a new El Niño was coming last autumn. Duh! None of the myriad ENSO models was capable of forecasting what happened.
ECMWF System 4 model:comment image
IRI/CPC plume of 23 different models:comment image
Not a single one of them predicted what happened, and the spread of -0.7 to +1.6 in September is shameful. There are taking good money for random chance models.
ENSO remains unpredictable. We don’t have a clue about what will happen next fall with ENSO.


Thanks, Javier, well illustrated point.


Javier, i see your opening that los ninos can of worms again…
Which would be the proper way to say the following:
Will there be an el nino?
or (o)
Will there be el nino?


I know I am nitpicking, but it hurts my eyes to see the plural in the noun and not in the article.
In English “El Niño” is a borrowed noun, so ‘Will there be an El Niño’ is correct.
Considering that we have to distinguish between El Niño conditions that can take place at any time, and El Niño events that require El Niño conditions for five consecutive three month averages (NOAA definition), I think the best way to say the plural is to refer to El Niño events avoiding the Spanish plural issue.

charles nelson

I totally agree. This desire to ‘predict’ chaotic systems is something that I find quite irritating for some reason.


… if you’re wondering how a strong El Niño can (and does) raise global sea surface temperatures permanently…

If the ENSO system has been running for millions of years, and if El Nino warming of the global sea surface isn’t counterbalanced by La Nina cooling of the global sea surface, then one might well ask how come the global oceans haven’t boiled dry by now?

Waiting for el Ninot, scene 5
Adapted from http://samuel-beckett.net/Waiting_for_Godot_Part1.html
ESTRAGON: People are bloody ignorant apes.
ESTRAGON: Charming spot. Inspiring prospects. (He turns to Vladimir.) Let’s go.
VLADIMIR: We can’t.
ESTRAGON: Why not?
VLADIMIR: We’re waiting for el Ninot.
ESTRAGON: (despairingly). Ah! (Pause.) You’re sure it was here?
ESTRAGON: That we were to wait.
VLADIMIR: He said by the tree. (They look at the tree.) Do you see any others?
ESTRAGON: What is it?
VLADIMIR: I don’t know. A bristlecone pine.
ESTRAGON: Where are the leaves?
VLADIMIR: It must be dead.
[!! .mod]

charles nelson

With Al Gore as Pozzo.

Derek Colman

I expect at least one more powerful El Nino before the cooling due to low solar activity sets in. During the 20th. century period of high solar activity, the oceans have absorbed huge amounts of heat energy. Now that solar energy has reduced over the last 2 decades, an imbalance between atmospheric and ocean temperatures has arisen. The equilibrium can only be restored by the oceans shedding excess heat, thus we had the 2015/2016 very powerful El Nino. The El Nino is followed by a period when the excess heat transferred to the atmosphere escapes into space. I believe that period is now ending as GMT has returned to the pre-El Nino level. This has created a new imbalance so the oceans will discharge more of their excess heat in the form of a new El Nino. This process will keep on repeating until an equilibrium is reached appropriate to the amount of heat now being received from the Sun, and GMT drops by maybe a degree or more.


Dear Bob, you tell us that “if you’re wondering how a strong El Niño can (and does) raise global sea surface temperatures permanently”, we obviously haven’t read your book, which “explained how a strong El Niño can (and does) raise global sea surface temperatures permanently so simply that an eight-year-old can understand it.”
When I was about eight years old, my own dad explained the following to me: “permanently is a very long time”……


Will There Be A 2018/19 El Niño?
The crystal ball is clearing…
Neutral to mildly el Niño appears to be on the horizon, if not soon then later…


Without westerly wind bursts to initiate downwelling Kelvin waves, there will be no El Niño.

Kelvin waves are gravity waves; they transport energy, but not matter. While their appearance along the equatorial thermocline may be a harbinger, it’s the eastward flow of near-surface water that physically produces an El Nino. There’s no one-to-one correspondence between that flow and the shifting position of sub-surface anomalies in a Hovmoller diagram.

Brianrlcatt. Thanks for all your comments. Agree with all your remarks. Finally some common sense and sanity about climate – it’s the Oceans that drive it; and your remarks about’ Malthusians’, people whose real aim is to prevent the development of humanity in developing nations. Keeping ‘down’ other human groups, as well as anti-human self-hatred. Same-old same-old that has existed since the dawn of humanity.