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Is The El Nino On The Wane?

January 6, 2016

By Paul Homewood 





David Whitehouse brings up to date analysis of the current El NIno, suggesting that it is beginning to wane..

There are various signs, including SST’s, upper ocean heat content and winds, but the most telling comment is:

Sea surface temperature across the equatorial Pacific basin have cooled roughly one-half a degree over the last four weeks. At the same time, a large pool of cold water beneath the surface in the western Pacific has been expanding eastward, nearly doubling in size over the past two months.


ESRL’s MEI Index also confirms this, dropping from 2.308 in November to 2.123 last month. This is the lowest value since last July.

It could come back for seconds in the next month or so, as it did in 1998, but the consensus is against this.

My guess is that the 2015 El Nino is the last hurrah, given the cold phase of the PDO, which has been temporarily interrupted by the El Nino and N Pacific “Blob”.

If that is right, we are not only in for a cold La Nina later next year, but the cold phase of the PDO will return with a vengeance, as it did in the 1960’s and 70’s.




The reality is that El Ninos, by their nature, take heat from the oceans and put it into the atmosphere, where eventually it disappears to space.

How much heat is there left in the Pacific to transfer to the atmosphere? With the Atlantic starting to go cold, serious scientists would not be worried by global warming. 

  1. January 6, 2016 8:02 pm

    I’ve already said the El Nino has peaked and that as a consequence that “this will will be global cooling”.

  2. January 6, 2016 8:26 pm

    Yes, it does look like the current El Niño is beginning to fade away. It will be interesting to see how much of a La Niña we get afterwards. We are also probably overdue for a big volcanic eruption impacting the stratosphere, since the last one was almost 25 years ago back in early 1991. We might even be overdue for a stronger eruption more like Tambora.

  3. Don B permalink
    January 6, 2016 8:41 pm

    Paul, I have noticed from a graph of SST anomaly in Nino 3.4 Region, 1950-2015, that El Nino periods as strong or nearly as strong as the current one have been followed by La Nina-ish periods which lasted much longer than the preceding El Nino.

    For example, the 1997-1998 13 month El Nino (per NOAA’s ONI index), was followed by a 33 month La Nina.

    The 1982-83 15 month El Nino; followed by 33 months of negative anomalies, 10 months of which were officially La Nina.

    The 1972-73 11 month El Nino; followed by 34 month La Nina.
    ONI Index:

    If history repeats, 2017 and 2018 should be La Nina-ish, and cold; as you said.

  4. January 7, 2016 12:02 pm

    If the Earth starts to cool, just switch off the wind turbines and crank up the power stations.

    Surely that’ll work 😉

  5. January 7, 2016 4:59 pm

    We are frying in South Africa.Temperatures have constantly been above average and we are in the grip of a very serious drought.Can’t wait for Al Nino to disperse.

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