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El Nino Update

March 29, 2016

By Paul Homewood 



There are signs that the El Nino is now rapidly declining, according to this week’s NWS update.




SST anomalies have been declining since mid January, but the pace seems to have accelerated in the last week.


Compare with the situation in January:





The change in the last four weeks can be seen below:





It is not just sea surface temperatures which are falling away. A huge pool of colder than normal water below the surface is building its way back east, and has now reached 110 degrees west.





Perhaps most revealing of all is the rapidly decline in upper upper ocean heat anomalies since November in the Central and Eastern Pacific, which now stand in negative territory.





Strong La Nina conditions now look increasingly likely towards the end of this year. 

  1. Broadlands permalink
    March 29, 2016 5:36 pm

    Using the Hadley HadlSST 1.1 database the El-Nino (3.4 index (as described) peaked in January at plus 2.583. Lacking February, a projection from that suggests that La-Nina conditions (negative index) will begin in June or July.

    Do you have the February Nino 3.4 index from Hadley?

  2. March 29, 2016 8:50 pm

    Important post. BIG Question is whether a permanent uptick like 1998, or return to pause/hiatus? La Nina plus difference in PDO and AMO makes me hopeful for the later rather than the former. Powerful skeptical ammunition if becomes true. Would be a nice 2016 Christmas present.

  3. March 29, 2016 10:42 pm

    ENSO is a distraction. Its a reflection of the rate of mixing of cold with warm waters in a tiny fraction of the global ocean that sure enough exhibits the largest variations seen in any ocean. And the tropics see the largest variations in temperature on interannual time scales (as distinct from monthly time scales) but the temperature of near equatorial waters, and that’s all we are talking about, is driven by circulatory processes dependant on the planetary winds….hence the utility of the Southern Oscillation Index based on surface pressure.

    To understand and predict the big swings in tropical sea surface temperature we need to get to grips with the mode of variation in surface pressure and the winds and relate that to changing albedo.

  4. March 29, 2016 10:47 pm

    That said, thanks for the update. At some point, after the EL Nino, tropical sea surface temperatures will lose the half a degree that they picked up in 1976-78. The last big La Nina set records. The coming La Nina should match or exceed it.

  5. March 29, 2016 11:42 pm

    Broadlands, I know you are interested in the history of ideas and ozone in particular. Have you see the excellent work being done by Bernie Levin here :

  6. March 31, 2016 2:53 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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