On a day when last minute tax returns trump almost other issues, let me mention something about the weather. It’s warm; it’s dry, and unless something Biblical in nature should occur shortly, we can expect no further relief for drought conditions, whether manifested in fire danger, low lake levels or heck, the price of hamburgers.

Nonetheless, the first change in some time in the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) reports suggests there could be some kind of end in store. Understand, we’re talking consensus percentages, tendencies, historic models, and atmospheric conditions on the other side of the planet, nonetheless, maybe there is hope for some changes.

While you can read the whole report and look at the maps here, let me quote from the introduction to this months data:

“A significant downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave that was initiated in January greatly increased the oceanic heat content to the largest March value in the historical record back to 1979 and produced large positive subsurface temperature anomalies across the central and eastern Pacific. Also during March, low-level westerly wind anomalies were observed over the central equatorial Pacific. Convection was suppressed over western Indonesia, and enhanced over the central equatorial Pacific. Although these atmospheric and oceanic conditions collectively reflect ENSO-neutral, they also reflect a clear evolution toward an El Niño state.

“The model predictions of ENSO for this summer and beyond are indicating an increased likelihood of El Niño this year compared with last month. Most of the models indicate that ENSO-neutral (Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C) will persist through much of the remainder of the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014, with many models predicting the development of El Niño sometime during the summer or fall.

“Despite this greater model consensus, there remains considerable uncertainty as to when El Niño will develop and how strong it may become. This uncertainty is amplified by the inherently lower forecast skill of the models for forecasts made in the spring. While ENSO-neutral is favored for Northern Hemisphere spring, the chances of El Niño increase during the remainder of the year, and exceed 50% by the summer (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome).”

While not a glowing, bet the ranch or upgrade the boat, lead pipe cinch, there is, at least, a little glimmer of hope for wet weather–somewhere in the future.


3 Responses to “El Nino: out there in the future somewhere”

by Richard Fulkerson


Ran across this. Pretty interesting stuff.

by George Kramer

Thanks, Richard! Anyone who wants to take a serious look at the weather big picture should take the time to go through this report and its prospects for weather change.

by Rich Lingor