NOAA issued what they refer to as an El Niño Watch for the Summer and Fall of 2014. An El Niño watch means that there is a 50% chance of an El Niño returning to the waters in the eastern Pacific off the coast of Peru. During El Niño years, this water in the eastern Pacific Ocean just off the coast of Peru warms and there can be global impacts from these events. Here is a look at the NOAA discussion...
NOAA Discussion Of The Possible Return Of El Niño Later This Year...
NOAA's Climate Prediction Center today issued an El Niño Watch indicating a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the summer or fall. El Niño, which is marked by warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the eastern Pacific Ocean near the equator, is known for influencing weather across the U.S. and other parts of the globe. Currently, the Climate Prediction Center is monitoring a very warm pool of water in the Western Pacific, and is seeing this pool move eastward, which will likely warm the Eastern Pacific in the coming months. The warm water in the Western Pacific is shown here using the three-dimensional GODAS ocean temperature data.
If the El Niño conditions strengthen, a tongue of warmer-than-average water will be seen in sea surface temperature data. You can monitor these conditions, as well as past El Niño and La Niña events, in NOAA View.
A More Detailed Discussion From The Climate Prediction Center...
The Climate Prediction Center has a more detailed discussion for those of you that are more of the science type, so I wanted to share that discussion as well...
EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION
Issued by CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society
6 March 2014
ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Watch
Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014, with about a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the summer or fall.
ENSO-neutral continued during February 2014, with below-average sea surface temperatures (SST) continuing in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean and above-average SSTs increasing near the International Date Line.
Overall, the weekly Niño indices were variable during the month, with most indices remaining less than -0.5oC.
A significant downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave increased the oceanic heat content (first figure) and produced large positive subsurface temperature anomalies across the central and east-central Pacific (second figure).
In addition, toward the end of the month, strong low-level westerly winds re-appeared over the western equatorial Pacific. Convection was suppressed over western Indonesia and the central equatorial Pacific.
Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic conditions reflect ENSO-neutral.
The model predictions of ENSO for this summer and beyond are relatively unchanged from last month. Almost all the models indicate that ENSO-neutral (Niño-3.4 index between -0.5oC and 0.5oC) will persist through the rest of the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014.
While all models predict warming in the tropical Pacific, there is considerable uncertainty as to whether El Niño will develop during the summer or fall. If westerly winds continue to emerge in the western equatorial Pacific, the development of El Niño would become more likely. However, the lower forecast skill during the spring and overall propensity for cooler conditions over the last decade still justify significant probabilities for ENSO-neutral. The consensus forecast is for ENSO-neutral to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014, with about a 50% chance of El Niño developing during the summer or fall (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome).
How Could An El Niño Affect The Fall Or Winter Of 2014 and 2015 In the Ohio Valley?
I think this is probably the biggest question anyone in our area will have after reading this blog. Should I care? The answer is that La Niña's actually have a much bigger impact on our part of the county. The data from the Climate Prediction Center shows us whether temperatures or precipitation tend to be above or below normal during El Niño events in the Ohio Valley. Let's start with Fall then look at Winter.
Fall Temperature Correlations During El Niño Events
Notice there is a temperature correlation to fall for our area and it tends to skew above normal for fall if there is an El Niño present.
Fall Precipitation Correlations During El Niño Events
If anything, there is a slight correlation with Fall El Niño events and slightly wetter conditions. I would not call it a strong correlation though.
Winter Temperature Correlations During El Niño Events
Winter temperature correlations for El Niño events are nearly non-existent here. That means El Niño events do not have a statistical skew toward warmer or colder.
Winter Precipitation Correlations During El Niño Events
Winter precipitation correlations for El Niño events are also nearly non-existent here. That means El Niño events do not have a statistical skew toward wet or dry winters here.
The bottom line is that an El Niño in our area starting in summer or fall could result in a warmer than normal fall with slightly above normal precipitation. The teleconnection in winter for El Niños here are just very low leading to low predictability. With the El Niño watch being issued, I figured there would be a lot of questions about what that means for us and I hope this has helped.
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