UAH & ENSO Updates For March 2016
By Paul Homewood
According to UAH, lower troposphere anomalies fell back sharply in March, down 0.10C. RSS also show a similar picture, down 0.13C.
With El Nino conditions continuing to dissipate during March, we may well have now seen the temperature peak in February, as I have been saying for a while.
It is worth comparing the current situation with 1997/98.
First, ENSO values:
We see that, although the 1997/98 El Nino peaked, (so far), higher than this one, we have actually had El Nino conditions for much longer in 2015/16. Indeed, there has been a mild El Nino since Spring 2014. This is one reason why temperatures have so far peaked slightly higher this year.
The second thing to note is that El Nino recovered in strength to make a second peak in Spring 1998. I would expect the MEI values for March to be much lower than February, so any such recovery this year looks increasingly unlikely.
Quite simply, there is no warm water left in the Western Pacific to push east. The best visualisation of this is below. Since early February, most of the near surface warm anomaly has disappeared, whilst the colder water to the west has continued to push east.
As for the effect on temperatures, we can compare the two periods:
As noted, we ran through 2015 with higher temperatures than 1997 partly because temperatures were enhanced by El Nino conditions starting in 2014. This is evident from comparisons of temperature anomalies in the Tropics.
Following the strong recovery of El Nino in February 1998, temperatures were also ramped back up, peaking in April and remaining high until Autumn. Watch this space for what happens in the next few months, but if MEI values continue to decline, my guess is that temperatures will quickly drop away from those 1998 values.