California’s rainy season winds down and severe drought remains; El Nino conditions developing rapidly in Tropical Pacific

Filed in Uncategorized by on April 6, 2014 270 Comments

Drought update

A notable amount of late-season precipitation fell throughout much of California during late March and early April. Given how dry winter 2013-2014 has been overall, this early-spring rain and snowfall–while not heavy by the standards of a more typical winter–represents a substantial fraction of all the precipitation that accumulated during the current Water Year.

drought_post

CPC/USDA

This recent precipitation has been effective in mitigating some of the very short-term impacts of the ongoing drought in California–adding moisture to the soil surface (and subsequently reducing extreme water stress on vegetation and temporarily decreasing wildfire risk) and resulting in modest flows into most of California’s major reservoirs.

This is certainly good news–and the hillsides certainly look greener than they did a couple of months ago. But just how much long-term relief has California experienced from its record-breaking drought? Well, the answer is: not much. Most of California is still below 50% of average for this time of year, and there’s no precipitation on the horizon for the next 1-2 weeks. This suggests that the 2013-2014 rainy season is over, for all intents and purposes, and that the existing tremendous rain and snowfall deficits are effectively “locked in” until next winter. Sierra snow water equivalent–despite receiving a considerable boost during recent storms–is still at or near record low values in the north and south (although the Central Sierra is now tracking marginally above the record low values observed during the extremely dry ’76-’77 water year). Water storage in California’s reservoirs is higher than earlier this winter, but spring runoff will be exceptionally low over the next 1-3 months and I would expect to see very low water levels again by mid-summer. In short–we’re still in the midst of an extreme drought in California, despite recent precipitation. The intensity of the drought is slightly less than observed during November 2013-January 2014, but there’s little doubt that California remains extraordinarily dry.

Short-term outlook

swe_post

CA DWR

One word could be used to describe expected conditions across California over the next 1-2+ weeks: summer-like. Very warm daytime temperatures will occur across most of the state for the upcoming week, with a cool down to merely slightly above-normal values by the coming weekend. Unfortunately, no additional precipitation is on the horizon as strong high pressure rebuilds over the Eastern Pacific (though that’s no longer especially unusual, given the time of year).

 

El Nino conditions developing rapidly in Tropical Pacific

There has been much discussion and speculation regarding the recent observed and expected near-future developments in the tropical Pacific Ocean.  Here’s a quick summary of what we know so far:

  • Large sub-surface temperature anomalies have been observed in the equatorial Pacific Ocean in association with very strong equatorial Kelvin wave activity over the past 2-3 months
  • Positive sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies have begun to surface in the central and eastern Pacific over the past 1-3 weeks
  • Westerly wind bursts (WWBs) have been observed with increasing frequency and intensity over the western and central Pacific over the past 2 months
  • Current conditions strongly resemble those observed in the lead-up to the powerful 1997-1998 El Nino event
  • Recent projections from coupled atmosphere-ocean models strongly support the continued development of significant El Nino conditions over the next 1-3 months
nino_post

NOAA/PMEL

An exceptionally strong oceanic Kelvin wave (KW)–the most intense since at least 1997–is currently making its way eastward across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Upwelling associated with the this KW has resulted in rapidly-warming SSTs as very large sub-surface temperature anomalies (on the order of 6-7+ C) rise toward the ocean surface. At the same time, easterly trade winds have begun to weaken across almost the entire Pacific basin, punctuated by distinct WWBs that have thus far been focused in the western and central Pacific. This increasingly anomalous wind  pattern suggests that the atmosphere is already starting to respond to the warm ocean conditions, which is a crucial step in the development of a full-blown El Nino event.

While I won’t delve too deeply into the physics of ENSO in the present post (others have recently done an excellent job), it’s worth emphasizing the importance of positive (self-reinforcing) feedbacks in the coupled ocean-atmosphere system. Warm East Pacific SSTs favor a continued weakening of the easterly trade winds, which leads to further SST warming; unusually high West Pacific SSTs favor enhanced tropical cyclogenesis and associated westerly wind bursts, which beget even warmer ocean conditions. The fact that these feedback processes now appear to be ramping up in the presence of record-high sub-subsurface temperature anomalies highlights the potential for a very significant El Nino event to evolve over the next several months. Forecasts from dynamical atmosphere-ocean models have recently become much more bullish regarding prospects for a strong El Nino event–and NCEP’s CFS model ensemble is now explicitly projecting that very strong El Nino conditions will be in place by November. A handful of ensemble members now project an event even stronger than the exceptional 1997-1998 El Nino. The high values foreseen by the upper-end ensemble members are especially remarkable given that the models used to predict ENSO typically underestimate the magnitude of extreme events. At the same time, however, we’re still on the wrong side of the so-called “spring predictability barrier”–which is another way of saying that our confidence in numerical model projections from early April is still low relative to the confidence we’ll have in model projections just a month or two from now. What is clear at this point is that all signs continue to point toward the rapid development of a strong El Nino event.

nino_forecast_post

NOAA/CPC

In a future post, I’ll discuss in much greater depth what the potential impacts of a powerful El Nino event might be in California. There are presently indications that California may experience impacts as early as the coming summer–including the possibility of unusually warm temperatures and perhaps even some very unusual warm-season precipitation events. The million-dollar question, however, is what effects El Nino might have on precipitation during the 2014-2015 rainy season. For now, I’ll say this: next winter has the potential to be very different indeed than the exceptionally dry one we just experienced.

© 2014 WEATHER WEST

 

Tags: , ,

2 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • disqus_UG3GsKP97s

    How will the El Nino effect the Bay Area’s summer? I live in the East Bay and enjoy warm summer days and cool summer nights. I do sometimes find it rather annoying at times to have to wear a jacket to go to San Francisco or Monterrey in JULY. when it’s roasting only an hour away where I live. Will the El Nino lessen the marine layer?

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      The warmer temperatures would probably be experienced primarily at night, since SSTs may be 2-3 C (or up to 5-6 F) above normal near the Bay Area and overnight minima in summer are closely tied to ocean temperatures. I’ll discuss this more in a later post.

  • Kamau40

    Dan, great post!! I think everything was well thought out based on facts, current observations of the rapid changes going on out in the tropical Pacific Ocean along with a great degree of evidence to suggest that a very powerful El Niño event is highly likely to happen later this year.

  • Charlie Hohn

    Well, at least there is hope the next rainy season will start early. Perhaps there will be even some late summer moisture from tropical systems in the eastern Pacific. I know it rarely amounts to much and usually jsut causes flash floods when it does, but,,,

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      It wouldn’t be the first time a California drought has been broken in spectacular fashion, though that may still be getting ahead of things a bit. I think we’ll have a pretty good idea by June whether this really is the Big One or not.

  • Pingback: California Weather Blog: Rainy season winds down and severe drought remains; El Nino conditions developing rapidly in Tropical Pacific » MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK | MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK

  • politik

    What type of “warm season” precipitation event? Living in the SF bay region since 1957, I’ve seen a few SW monsoon bursts advect into the state but they usually amount to little more than sprinkles west of the Sierra. Other than an unlikely weakening TS or a Depression sliding up from the Mexican west coast (never North of San Diego) … what is possible?

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      That latter possibility–of tropical remnants making it as far north as Northern California–is primarily what I’m referring to. I’ll discuss this more in a later post once it’s clearer how strong our El Nino event might become.

      • so.cal.storm.lover

        would a strong el nino by this summer mean moster monsoons for so cal?

      • so.cal.storm.lover

        if el nino hits strong mode by summer would that mean monster monsoons for so cal?

        • Loyal Brooks

          While that may be a possibility, the increase in moisture in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere to the S and SE of CA still need to work against the prevailing dry northwesterly flow that exists over CA in the summer months. These dry prevailing winds come from the semi-permanent high pressure system that sits comfortably at around 42N and 150W or so during the summer months.

          Now, if an El Nino begins to develop in earnest, there will be more moisture than usual creeping north, and likely more moisture will get through into CA, with more days of T-storms in the deserts and in the mountainous areas of the state with perhaps greater intensity.

          At the same time, there is an increase in the chance of tropical storm remnants creeping into CA, creating more widespread rainfall, even away from the deserts and mountains.

          • so.cal.storm.lover

            ok thanks!

          • politik

            I was not aware of any correlation between an EL Nino/La Nina event and the SW monsoon? I know there is a stated one as effects the Tropical Atlantic hurricane season. Wouldn’t the SSTs have to get much higher than+5-6C? to affect the Pacific High? Grape growers have told me there already a weakening of cool NW winds in the Norcal summer.

          • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

            Teleconnections between ENSO and the North American monsoon are complicated, poorly-understood, and probably not extremely strong. If anything, there may be a slight tendency towards a suppressed monsoon in the SW U.S. during strong El Nino events since the continent-ocean temperature contrast is reduced.

            http://www.atmo.arizona.edu/~castro/Reviewedpubs/R-1.pdf

            However…an exception to this is precipitation derived from remnant East Pacific hurricanes, which tend to be stronger, more common, and have greater northward trajectory during strong El Nino years. Most of California’s really anomalous/interesting summertime rainfall events at lower elevations have come from such systems, and this is a situation that becomes considerably more likely during strong El Nino late summers/falls. Interestingly, California “benefits” the most of all the southwestern states from this pattern.

          • politik

            Thx, Not good news for the residents of NM who know the drought there is a double whammy, primarily the result of a failure of the summertime SW monsoon and secondarily low snowpack from the lack of wintertime Pacific systems affecting Central and Socal.

          • Kamau40

            Hi Loyal, I do not have as much in depth knowledge as you do about Kelvin Waves. To be honest, I’m still in the process of learning more about them, especially this current one is great for us all to study and learn from. I have asked this question twice already and no one seems to have an answer. Maybe you can help me with this question based on your years of experience with climate/weather and research; do you have an idea whether or not this Kelvin Wave has reached its maximum degree temp of 6-7C or is there potential for this to strengthen even further? Or do we even have an accurate reading of this wave since many of the buoys are non operational due to the lack of funding from the Fed Govt over the last decade or so? What are your thoughts, especially in light of the latest developments going on out in the Tropical Pacific with now increasing and even stronger WWB developing for the rest of this month.

          • Loyal Brooks

            Hi Kamau40, I have been on here twice in the last week, only to make a single comment then leave. Glaring questions do need to be addressed, and I wish I could be here more often to answer more of them. Anyway, the incredible events occurring in the western Pacific (along the equator N of Australia and New Guinea) have been absolutely remarkable.

            As we know from thermodynamic equations, Kelvin waves out in the open ocean can only travel in the equatorial belt from E to W or W to E (they have no meridional, or N-S component to them), and in the coupled ocean/atmosphere system, they jump the continents and go on into other ocean basins, continuing their journey around the world.

            Significant westerly wind bursts have been noted in the eastern Pacific in the last several months that are turning the flow, both in the ocean and air towards the east, carrying a very warm pool of water and air eastward. There are plenty of buoys and satellite assets out there keeping their pulse on this developing situation. Here is a recent link describing what is going on out there in the equatorial regions N of Australia regarding these this Kelvin wave development. http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/monster-el-nino-emerging-from-the-depths-nose-of-massive-kelvin-wave-breaks-surface-in-eastern-pacific/

            Take a look at the earth by satellite and see that there is a usual belt of storminess that encircles the earth, caused by the NE trades in the N and SE trades in the S converging and creating a tremendous belt of convection and storminess, often referred to as the ITCZ, or the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Here is a typical view of the earth, and how the ITCZ appears from satellite: http://rsd.gsfc.nasa.gov/goes/pub/goes/101124.itcz.jpg

            Finally, here is the whole earth covered in computer generated winds (updated every 3 hours) that shows the surface flows in all regions of the earth. Use your mouse to spin the earth and zoom in, but pay attention to the western equatorial Pacific. Notice that now there is no longer a relatively straight line (E-W) of surface winds, but rather, they have become more diffuse and westerly in the key areas mentioned above. This area is of prime concern now, as it honestly appears that we are looking at the beginning of an El Nino. There is a chance that one will not develop, but at this point, it is looking very promising that a substantial El Nino will develop in the next 3- 6 months. Craig Mathews is another guy on here who knows quite a bit, through observation, what is going on daily out in the Pacific.

            I hope this helps!

          • Kamau40

            Loyal, thank you for sharing you knowledge to the best of your ability. I did not realize I asked a loaded question which I guess that explains why both Dan’s had a difficult time of responding. Your explanation seems to satisfy the question and the sources you gave me indicates in my conclusion that the Kelvin Wave could continue to grow; especially in light of the recent incredible developments out in the Pacific. The wave is so much bigger than the one that preceded the 1997-98 powerful El Nino event. I remember I followed the whole process back then and I witnessed what happened that following winter. We got hammered from late Dec-Apr of that season. While there is no guarantees that this will not fizzle out, at this point I think it is highly doubtful that this upcoming El Nino event will fall apart by Fall. There are latest CFS forecast that currently suggest that it will indeed intensify by Dec ’14. I know it is still early to make such predictions, but I expect we could very well have major flood problems and record setting snows in the Sierra’s next winter. It will indeed be a very interesting year down the road.

          • Loyal Brooks

            I am glad you got something out of that. Your own critical thinking will take you a long way. I noticed that when you cut and pasted my reply to Dan TW, the links broke, or sent you someplace else that wasn’t originally there. I don’t know how that happened!!

            While I have to log off, and I won’t be able to return for a few days(ish), it is very refreshing to see such a good and intelligent discussion going on on this board.

            Now you guys keep it up!!

          • Kamau40

            Don’t know what happened, I will try to re-paste the websites to Dan again. Thank you for letting me know.

          • Loyal Brooks

            Thanks. It wasn’t your question that was so loaded that it was difficult to answer, it was the fact that we have only 2 – or so – paragraphs to answer. I used as many links as I needed to to help get my point across, and it still ran off the page.

            I always try to not let it do that. BTW, when I came on here last eve to address your question, this whole interface is different again, as if some changes were made on it. Every link someone provides leaves about a 3-inch gap on the page. I have not seen that before. It is still doing it right now.

            I don’t think everyone sees this blog this way – I have never been to any blog that looks like this. But the content is great!

            I wasn’t able to read through all that was on this first page, I think I did see someone bemoan that this blog will be all about Kelvin waves all summer. Hopefully, something will come along to change that – this is a good blog for all. Love it when people come in with dramatic pics, or provide their own meteo data. Otherwise, for me, it would be just a dry list of numbers that I would search for to peer into CA.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          I think the monsoon flow will be more frequent this summer with the 4 Corners High being more dominant during an El Nino summer. There is a very good possibility of moisture being entrained from decaying eastern Pacific tropical systems, as El Nino conditions favor a much more active eastern Pacific hurricane season along with stronger hurricanes. There is even a slight possibility of a tropical system making landfall in Socal if it is moving in the right direction fast enough while in its weakening phase with the warmer waters off the coast. Of course, a system wouldn’t strengthen as it approaches Socal because even in El Nino conditions, our water temperatures are never warm enough to sustain a hurricane or tropical storm, as they need at least 80 degree water to do so. Somewhat more possible is that a tropical system travels up the Gulf of California (Sea of Cortez) and makes landfall near Arizona as Tropical Storm Nora did in September 1997.

          • Dreamer

            Wasn’t hurricane Linda forecast to strike Southern California as a HURRICANE at one point in 1997? So how would it have sustained itself if it really happened?

          • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

            Technically yes, though it probably would have brought impacts similar to a big winter storm (granted, it would have been during mid-summer). Linda was a powerhouse, upper-end Cat 5 over the warmer waters south of California, and its rapid forward motion allowed Linda to remain above minimal hurricane force until making a close approach on SoCal (even though it was rapidly weakening the whole time).

      • inclinejj

        I have to ask my Dad but one of the years Pacifica flooded really bad in late October which is really rare. Some tropical warm moist airmass came over and flooded the lower part of Linda Mar.

        I have to dig to try to find the info.

    • honzik

      I remember an event in the mid-80s in the Bay Area when, after a low rain year, Lexington Reservoir was quite low – perhaps 1/2 full. Sometime in May we had a very heavy – almost tropical – rainstorm that filled the reservoir to overflow almost overnight. In fact, there was some local flooding down river in Los Gatos. (I wish I could find the rainfall data to confirm this, so I could be a bit more precise.)

      I’m holding out hope for such an event again, however unlikely that might be.

      • tealamb

        I think I know what you’re talking about—if I’m remembering correctly it happened during Memorial Day weekend in 1989? I also hope that we can get something like that again, but I’m afraid it’s unlikely.

  • Thad

    Just wanted to say, that the last couple months of rains here in western Humboldt County may have broken the severe drought conditions here. By Feb. 1, I had only recorded 9 inches of precipitation. Currently the total is over 36 inches. Season average is about 55 inches, so we are in the ballpark and with 75% of the total falling as late season rain, I think we will be in reasonable shape for this summer.

  • Zepp

    We’re rated as being in “moderate drought” in Siskiyou County, a significant improvement over late January. We got close to 60% of normal rainfall.
    Unfortunately, our snow pack is in horrible shape.

  • Kamau40

    The AMO is now strongly negative at -0.58 as of the month of March. Waiting to see what the actual phase of the PDO is as of late.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      I wouldn’t say that it is strongly negative just yet, but it is definitely trending more negative, which is very good news for us. I am not sure as of yet, but I am hoping that the AMO is trending negative for the long run and that it is not a temporary flip.

      • Kamau40

        Absolutely, it does give us more hope though for wetter years if the AMO stays negative for the long term in case the PDO goes negative again. Only time will tell. It will be interesting to see what the latest PDO is like as of March which should be coming out shortly.

  • Utrex

    Well there’s an extremely abnormal warm pool ready to pop up the ocean surface any second now. Why would there be no Super El Niño?

    • alanstorm

      I like your attitude. Sally forth with the anomoly postulate, I always say. A warm water Godzilla, if you will.

  • lightning10

    One thing to keep an eye on is I think we need the PDO to go strong positive if we want a slam dunk event.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      I’m not convinced this is true. Remember: the PDO does not, in and of itself, affect a developing El Nino event.

  • Dreamer

    Is there any chance this Nino could be so strong, that it’s the stuff that sci-fi movies are made of?

    • Mike Stephenson

      Given that we are about due for a “strong” el nino, every 15 years i think, one could only bet that given the current conditions a strong el nino is pretty likely. Maby the rate of warming is slowing because its already pretty warm in the first place? I would definently gamble on a strong el nino. We can only wait and see!

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      The assertion that the rate of warming in the Pacific is slowing is simply not factually correct. I have no idea where this notion comes from–if anything, the rate of warming is presently increasing. There is no indication whatsoever at this point that this will “fade away by winter.”

    • inclinejj

      It’s Joe Bastardi.

      Some interesting things popping up on the Goes West today.

    • xeren

      if it was slowing (which i don’t think it is) it’s already incredibly warm in the 0-300m depths around the equator:

      http://i.imgur.com/B8MreJ3.png

      which tends to indicate where SST’s will lead, so there’s no indication that it will fade. not to say that it won’t, just that there is currently no indication of such. I guess you usually win when you bet on regression to the mean, but i would like to know what he’s basing that statement on

  • Severe Wx

    The SOI has been trending strongly positive over the past several days. The latest is 13.27, which is more what we see for a La Ninia! Hopefully, that changes in the coming weeks.

    • Utrex

      Best way to observe SOI values is for looking at the monthly average, thus treating it like the PDO, AMO et cetera. Daily values, if change drastically, are usually brief, and should return to the average SOI value. Basically, daily SOI values don’t affect much unless the value goes out long term. March’s long term SOI was -12…

    • craig matthews

      With an eastward propagation of convection from the maritime continent into the pacific and more westerly wind burst, it seams like the SOI value should fluctuate back to negative in the next week. During the developing stages of el ninos of the past, it appears that daily SOI values fluctuated back and forth from time to time, but the overall trend was more and more negative.

    • alanstorm

      Hey man, don’t be dissing La Nina! She’s given us some serious rainfall events like Dec ’55 & Dec 64′, both record setting floods for Ca & Oregon. I’ll take either as long as it rains alot

      • craig matthews

        I agree with you there. Even our recent strong La Nina of 2010-11 gave us a lot of rain, even in socal.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          As much as La Nina is said to cause dry weather for Socal, as there have been drier than normal La Nina years, but from looking at records from the 1930’s to the present and seeing reconstructions of ocean oscillation conditions, the absolute worst combo for dryness seems to be the -PDO, +AMO, ENSO neutral or weak ENSO combo and that is precisely what we have been experiencing the last 3 years. I have been saying this for quite a while, but I wanted to mention it again in light of the recent changes in all of these conditions during the last 3 months.

          Now it appears that the PDO has flipped positive and the AMO has flipped negative and El Nino is looking more and more likely with each passing week. All three of these bode very well for better winters in the future, but the question is if the PDO and AMO have flipped temporarily or for the longer term. The only potential problem that could crop up later this year is if somehow the El Nino manages to fail. The absolute worst case scenario would be if after the El Nino fizzles, then the PDO and AMO return to the state of the last few years in the early to mid fall.

          • Kamau40

            The PDO as of the month of March has gone much more positive(fairly strongly) at 0.97 and the AMO is also at 0.58 for the third consecutive month in a row. And of course we have the very strong ENSO ahead in the coming months. If all three of these trends continue there is no doubt in my mind that we will have a very epic year for 2014-15. It will indeed be interesting to watch and see if these trends continue for the rest of this year. But, I tell you, all of the global teleconnection signs are coming together quite well as of to date.

  • craig matthews

    The dynamical models are forecasting a more robust eastward propagation of MJO over the Maritime into the Western pacific in the next week or so, which means potentially renewed convection near the dateline, more westerly wind bursts near the dateline, and potential tropical cyclone activity in the western pacific towards mid month. Todays global animated satellite image shows 2 circulations both north and south of the equator in the western pacific. I have never seen such strong evidence supporting the development of El Nino. .

  • Kamau40

    Dan, curious to know, as you mentioned in your recent updated blog that the latest temp of the Kelvin Wave is 6-7C. That is obviously a tremendous amount of heat and power. Do you have an idea of this Kelvin Wave has reached its maximum or is there potential for this to strengthen even more? Or do we even have an accurate reading of this wave since many of the buoys are non operational due to the lack of funding from the Fed Govt over the last decade or so. What are your thoughts?

  • alanstorm

    So were all sitting aroung waiting for El Nino like Charlie Brown waiting for the Great Pumpkin. I sure hope it materializes otherwise I will die if weather boredom!

    • Xerophobe

      I will have a nervous breakdown, which is almost as bad, I guess!

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      It’s quiet locally, at least. Recent developments in the Pacific are pretty amazing from a global perspective, though, and eventually they’ll affect us.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      These last two winters have been two of the most boring winters that I have ever experienced and I have lived in Orange County my entire life. The only other winters to rank that high would be 2001-02, 2006-07, and possibly 1988-89, and 1989-90. 1971-72 would also technically qualify, but I was too young to remember that one.

      • Kamau40

        Do you have an idea whether or not this Kelvin Wave has reached its maximum degree temp of 6-7C or is there potential for this to strengthen even further? Or do we even have an accurate reading of this wave since many of the buoys are non operational due to the lack of funding from the Fed Govt over the last decade or so? What are your thoughts?

        • Dan the Weatherman

          I don’t know a lot about Kelvin waves as of right now and am in the process of learning about them, so I cannot really give you a good answer, but Daniel (Weather West) would be able to give you more insight.

          • Kamau40

            Thank you for your honesty. I’m still waiting for an answer from Dan(Weather West) to this challenging question. I also sent out the same question to Loyal Brooks who also seems very knowledgeable too about climate/weather, ENSO, Kelvin Waves. I’m also doing my own research as well. As soon as I get a response from either one of them or if I find out through independent research that make sense I will certainly share it with you.

          • Kamau40

            Dan, here is Loyal Brook’s response to my question regarding the latest Kelvin Wave along with three sources he provided:

            Hi Kamau40, I have been on here twice in the last week, only to make a single comment then leave. Glaring questions do need to be addressed, and I wish I could be here more often to answer more of them. Anyway, the incredible events occurring in the western Pacific (along the equator N of Australia and New Guinea) have been absolutely remarkable.

            As we know from thermodynamic equations, Kelvin waves out in the open ocean can only travel in the equatorial belt from E to W or W to E (they have no meridional, or N-S component to them), and in the coupled ocean/a tmospher e system, they jump the continents and go on into other ocean basins, continuing their journey around the world.

            Significant westerly wind bursts have been noted in the eastern Pacific in the last several months that are turning the flow, both in the ocean and air towards the east, carrying a very warm pool of water and air eastward. There are plenty of buoys and satellite assets out there keeping their pulse on this developing situation. Here is a recent link describing what is going on out there in the equatorial regions N of Australia regarding these this Kelvin wave development. http://robertscribbler.wordpre

            Take a look at the earth by satellite and see that there is a usual belt of storminess that encircles the earth, caused by the NE trades in the N and SE trades in the S converging and creating a tremendous belt of convection and storminess, often referred to as the ITCZ, or the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Here is a typical view of the earth, and how the ITCZ appears from satellite: http://rsd.gsfc.nasa.gov/goes/

            Finally, here is the whole earth covered in computer generated winds (updated every 3 hours) that shows the surface flows in all regions of the earth. Use your mouse to spin the earth and zoom in, but pay attention to the western equatorial Pacific. Notice that now there is no longer a relatively straight line (E-W) of surface winds, but rather, they have become more diffuse and westerly in the key areas mentioned above. This area is of prime concern now, as it honestly appears that we are looking at the beginning of an El Nino. There is a chance that one will not develop, but at this point, it is looking very promising that a substantial El Nino will develop in the next 3- 6 months. Craig Mathews is another guy on here who knows quite a bit, through observation, what is going on daily out in the Pacific.

            I hope this helps!

          • Loyal Brooks

            I can see that this was cut and pasted, but I don’t know why the 3 links are broken, and the one that does go through does not go to the place it was intended. I had a specific pic of the ITCZ, but that link shows many other things. Going back to my original post, the links are correct…. Hmmm.,,, I wonder what happened. Kamau40, maybe you should edit what you showed DanTW by erasing it and copying and pasting it again.

            What is there, including the links, don’t make a whole lot of sense. Be well!

          • Kamau40

            Loyal, I re-pasted both of those websites to Dan’s and everything now shows up clearly. Thank you again!!

      • Loyal Brooks

        I am not so sure you can go anywhere without finding boredom in the weather creeping in, no matter how much you are interested in it. Each region on earth tends to produce the same things over and over – and after 10 years of that, the novelty tends to wear off just a bit!

        Around here, there is so much speculation as to what kind of severe weather season we will endure. Yes, each season delivers its drama here, but the “same drama.”

        Even though the drought monitor shows MN in a dry/drought situation, the real worry here is flooding over the long term. The soil is frozen down to about 5 feet. Now, the top foot or so has thawed out. If we were to get soaking rains, they are not able to soak in, so they will run off. The deep snowpack is mostly gone, but the meltwater cannot soak down.

        It is strange here that we can be running above normal in precip, and still have a deepening drought just because the soils are frozen and incapable of soaking much in. They will melt all the way down sometime in May.

  • craig matthews

    It appears that weak upper level low well to our southwest is tapping into some mid and upper level moisture from the tropics south of Hawaii. Looks like its headed our way but models are all over the place on the track of the low center. GFS now shows some precip generated over the northern coast range and sierra Friday afternoon if I am reading it right, which to me at this time of year seams like this could be a thunderstorm producer for the sierra and highest peaks of the coast range with abundant daytime heating combined with some mid level instability and backing southeast to east flow. If it were summer, this would definitely be a thunderstorm producer. But in any case it looks interesting to me. Probably wont do anything in my area but deepen the marine layer a bit.

  • Utrex

    The +PDO should begin slashing away at this east pacific high. Models begin to show a wetter trend at the end of the month… Judging by the really hot almost-summer sun, combine this heat with a colder, wetter system and bingo, we get some lovely summertime thunderstorms. Most upper-lows tend to be drier during the summer, limiting significant stratiform clouds to materialize. This is also aided by when no warm air advection occurs, that is unless we get an atmospheric river like we did last June 2nd. Now during July 4th there was that low that brought a sky full of t-storms. We went up to Tahoe that day for some big fireworks, and I observed the birth and maturity of a supercell. The storm didn’t pass through Tahoe though.

  • stormsurge10

    Weather West,

    I only found this site a few months ago, and I’ll say this..

    I learned a lot more about California weather through this than through probably a year’s worth of looking through a bunch of weather-related sites.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Not only is this site very informative, but it is one of the only sites that I am aware of that is totally dedicated to California’s weather and climate.

      • Guest

        I know it’s not good to joke around with Mother Nature but…

        • stormsurge10

          Not the place to post this kind of humor, but still pretty funny, and sadly very true…

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    A very strong westerly wind burst is developing in the West Pacific as I type and is expected to last for much of the remainder of April. Coincident with this will be a well-time pulse of MJO activity towards the end of the month. What does this all mean? Well, these are about the most favorable conditions one could possibly envision for the continued rapid development of El Nino. The most recent dynamical model simulations are converging on a high-end El Nino solution, and amazingly the CFS ensemble mean is now projecting one of the strongest El Nino events on record. While it’s still too early to talk about specifics, this one really does look like it’s going to come together.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      For reference, the 97/98 and 82/83 events peaked between +2-2.5 C, and the dynamical models are still shifting the curve upward. I will be very interested to see where that plume sits in a week, after the upcoming WWB is well underway.

    • craig matthews

      So does this mean that this developing WWB may be sustained a while longer then the last 2 WWB’s, being that the pulse of MJO activity is coming in right behind it? Its going to be interesting to watch how these 2 forces come together.

  • Utrex

    Cfsv2 STILL increasing projected Celsius temperature over El Niño regions!

    http://origin.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/imagesInd3/nino34Mon.gif

  • Dogwood

    Great updates. Thank you all for your work. Sounds as good as we can hope for as we progress into summer. Man, 30″ of rain in San Jose would be nice- if this El Niño is anything like 82 and 97.
    As a gift to the community, please enjoy this photo of 3 clouds I snapped today at 1pm looking south toward Loma Prieta.
    Sun Dogs! All of the colors were there.

    • lightning10

      Sun dogs are often seen before major quakes. So just a heads up.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        There isn’t any physical correlation between sun dogs and earthquakes, since sun dogs are caused by the refraction of sun rays through ice crystals in cirrus clouds. However many (not all) of our major quakes seem to occur during dry warm periods when the most common type of cloud present (if there are any clouds) during these types of patterns would be high level clouds such as cirrus or cirrostratus. This would be the only reason that I can think of why this phenomenon may be seen a bit more often before earthquakes.

      • Loyal Brooks

        Sun dogs are frequently seen just after an arctic blast clears our Minneapolis area, and they are best seen at sunrise. They form from the form the refraction of light passing through ice crystals that hang low on the horizon as the sun rises. In many cases this past winter, they were most vivid when it was well below minus 20F.

        Though they can appear anywhere on earth in any season if ice crystals are in the right position with respect to the sun, in our case, they resulted from light morning frozen fog.

        Almost always, they are a line of light that goes straight up into the sky, with two separate spots of light on either side of the rising sun. Here is an example of what is most commonly seen around here:

  • Dreamer

    Could this El Nino be so far off the charts in comparison to what we saw in 1997, that it’s literally the stuff that sci-fi movies are made of?

  • Kamau40

    Do you have an idea whether or not this Kelvin Wave has reached its maximum degree temp of 6-7C or is there potential for this to strengthen even further? Or do we even have an accurate reading of this wave since many of the buoys are non operational due to the lack of funding from the Fed Govt over the last decade or so? What are your thoughts?

    • Loyal Brooks

      I replied to your question up above. There is just so much to answer in that loaded question, but provided 3 sources to look at, and draw your own conclusion from them. The first link I provide is a days-old description as to what is happening in the key region of the Pacific that precedes an El Nino. Next, I showed you a map of what the ITCZ looks like in a normal year, and provided you a third link to see for yourself what those surface winds are doing N of Australia. The first link talks about the significance of what you see in the final global winds map.

      Notice winds tend to be strongest over the flat oceans, where there is no topography to break them up.

      It is difficult not to go too deep in answering this question, but I tried my best to be as plain and simple, yet scientifically accurate as possible. Not an entirely easy task! Let me know what your conclusions are!!

  • lightning10

    Of course places like accuweather don’t want a major El Nino. That means less snow on the East Coast and that means they wont be able to hype up winter as much. They don’t like to focus on anything west of the Mississippi anyways.

    • Sunchaser

      More like In- accurateweather…here on their west coast forecasts..lol

      • Sunchaser

        Was wondering is there a web site or anyone out there in cyber land that tracks which weather channel/site is the most accurate…???

  • Utrex

    Next Monday, we have a chance to see a Total Lunar Eclipse! It begins 10 P.M. Sunday PDT, and ends and 3:30 A.M. Monday PDT. I’ll have pics ready!

    • TheNothing

      Thanks for reminding me, I’ll hook my camera up to my telescope and make some magic happen.

      • Utrex

        Um… I got the date wrong. It’s Monday night – Tuesday morning!

  • Sunchaser

    You would think looking at the latest sat pic that So Cal is going to be hit with copious amounts of rain……not !!!
    http://weather.unisys.com/satellite/sat_vis.php?image=enh&inv=0&t=cur&region=we

    • craig matthews

      Sure looks ominous on IR satellite but visible satellite reveals the truth. Might make for a nice sunset.

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        Yup.

  • Cliff Collipriest

    Being one of the more amateur weather and climate observers here I find the record warm sub surface temperature anomalies to be very intriguing, both in terms of how they look to impact what is shaping up to be a strong El Nino event and in terms of what has been written about the relativly low rate of world wide temperature increase over the past 15 years. From what I have read many climate scientists have been explaining this (and please excuse me if I don’t get completely right) by saying that the increased warmth has been stored in the oceans rather than the atmosphere.

    Could these record warm sub surface temperature anomalies be an indicator of the oceans giving up their stored heat energy into the atmosphere? And if that is the case, what does this portend for this coming summers temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere? Are we about to see another explosion of record warmth and another year of record high average temperatures globally?

    I am looking forward to the prospect of a possibly very wet 2014/2015 winter in California. I am also concerned about the effects of possible record warmth across the west this summer.

    • Loyal Brooks

      In short, strong El Nino years tend to be the world’s warmest years. This one seems to be on it’s way to being exceptionally strong – well, at least current observations lead us in that direction.

      There is room and time for this developing event to fizzle out, but it is increasingly unlikely – these Kelvin waves have been phenomenal, rivalling that of 1997-98. At my greatest depth, I feel we have now crossed over into an inevitable situation of El Nino (and very warm global temperatures) on their way.

      My mind tells me “not yet, it isn’t certain given the complex global interactions that go on during these events”, but with every passing day, I am more and more convinced that we will see some significant development of the El Nino – CA’s wet friend (usually).

      • Cliff Collipriest

        From what I am ready here and elsewhere it should be almost set in stone if this trend continues into July that there we will be an El Nino event.

        • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

          I think we’ll know with high confidence by the end of May, as we reach the other side of the “spring predictability barrier.” Even now, though: everything appears to be maximally on track.

  • Kamau40

    San Jose Mercury News discusses the largest Kelvin Wave in recorded history and the very strong likelihood of big storms in Ca next winter. Daniel Swain makes great comment about the prospects of the upcoming powerful El Nino event later this year and scientists are also starting to take notice of the drastic changes going on out in the Tropical Pacific and its potential impacts.
    http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_25539219/california-drought-el-ni-241-o-could-bring

  • Xerophobe

    Sssooooo the Super El Nino develops…we still need a polar jet stream that cooperates later this year and through winter, right? Any changes in the ocean SST’s where the RRR was?

  • Utrex
  • Utrex

    Newest IRI/CPC probability consensus outlook…

    http://iri.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/figure1.gif

  • Stereolab

    Careful what we wish for. All-time strongest El Nino? Combine that with a number of fortuitously aimed atmospheric rivers? Eight months from now we could be all reading this blog from underwater like it’s 1861!

    Or even worse:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jan/22/local/la-me-mega-storm-20110123

    “Geologists studying prehistoric flood deposits found evidence of even larger storms that occurred about every 300 years. Scientists project storms of that magnitude to become more frequent and powerful as a result of global warming.”

    I know this has been talked about on the blog in the past but it’s worth bringing up again given recent developments, I think. Drought sucks, yeah, but this could suck more.

    • TheNothing

      If this only happens once every 300 years then I’m glad I was alive to see it.

    • stormsurge10

      Please…

      I’ll take that kind of rain over today’s drought any day.

  • Severe Wx

    PDO just went much more positive; 0.97!

    http://jisao.washington.edu/pdo/PDO.latest

    Everything is seemingly coming together for a hell of a winter!

    • Kamau40

      Yep! It is confirmed that the PDO has gone much more positive. Great sign of things to come in the future.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        You may have to hit the reload / refresh button on your web browser. I had the same thing happen to me earlier today when I saw the comment above that the PDO value had been updated, and when I checked on the site, I didn’t see it there. Then I hit refresh, and voila it was there. My browser was displaying a cached copy of the page as opposed to the latest update.

        • Kamau40

          Dan, you were absolutely correct! I just went onto the site to hit the reload/refresh button and there it was. Now I know what to do in the future. So it is indeed confirmed that the PDO has gone strongly positive at 0.97 as of Mar. This is the 3rd consecutive month that both the PDO/AMO are now currently in the opposite phases compared to recent years. Yes, it is still too early to tell if these are the trends for the long term which we will be watching. If indeed these trends continue for the rest of this year in addition with the incredibly very strong ENSO developing, I believe that next winter will be a very epic year; and if the phases of the PDO/AMO remains in their phases for the long term we could have subsequent wetter years. The 1990s I remember well which were very wet after the long 6 and half years of drought from the mid 80’s-early 90’s which I also remember living through here in the state.

          • Utrex

            Not for long unfortunately. The PDO is in its cool phase, and it shifts about every 20 years. It hit the cool phase by around 2000. Next warm phase hits up at about 2020. However the PDO is not fully understood, so… that may change.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            It is definitely possible that this is a temporary flip to positive and could switch back negative, but hopefully after the El Nino and not before. We can have El Ninos with wet winters even during a -PDO, but they tend to be somewhat shorter-lived events and are not usually multi-year. Maybe the PDO has gone positive due to the pre-stages of this upcoming El Nino, but then again the PDO region is not the tropical Pacific, but rather the extratropical north Pacific.

          • Kamau40

            Dan, great and well thought out response to the comment above. I also hope that the PDO does not go back negative before the upcoming El Nino peaks later in the year or early next year. I would also say that is one of the reasons why I’m closely watching the phase of the PDO and hoping it does not go back negative too soon because based on historical and recent data, -PDO phases rarely supports strong El Nino events. Just like you mentioned above they more often than not are short lived and eventually falls apart. For example, 2012 and 2013 were such years.

          • Utrex

            This is just the beginning . . . I predict when the El Niño really fires up, we will get a good +PDO.

          • Utrex

            An interesting article I once found… Waters off of the Niño 1 areas climbed up along the Mexican coastlines, the U.S. coastlines, and then the warm water crashes into the Gulf of Alaska, where during a +PDO is where the most activity occurs. The Aleutian Low pulls tgese warm waters and tries to “curculate it”. Refer to this image for better understanding.

            http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Atmospheric_bridge.png

    • craig matthews

      Thanks for that PDO update. I’ve been waiting for the march index wondering how positive it has become. That’s 3 months in a row now of positive PDO index readings. I think its January +.30, February +.38, and March +.97.

  • craig matthews

    I am curious as to what scientific evidence has been found that shows that strong El Nino events bring above average monsoonal activity to the desert southwest in the summer season. I have found a few sites that show studies on this subject remain inconclusive. I am looking for more information, or some good sites on the subject of ENSO and its effects on the summer monsoon in the desert southwest. So far, what I have found is that there are tendencies for more influx of tropical moisture northward(during the summer) into western north America in an El Nino, especially a strong one. This has already been discussed on this blog. But I am more into the specifics of mid and upper level flow anomalies during the summer months over the desert southwest, and California for that matter, during El Nino years, which can have an impact on rainfall anomalies. Does anyone have more knowledge on this subject or some good sites I can check out?

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      You’re right–the link is surprisingly weak, and different studies have come to different conclusions. One finding that does stand out, though, is the increased frequency and intensity of tropical disturbances off the coast of Baja California during strong El Nino events that can ultimately lead to warm-season precip events in unusual places. Overall and regionally throughout the Southwest, however, there is no really consistent signal, and theoretical arguments might even suggest a decrease in overall monsoonal strength during strong El Nino events.

      • craig matthews

        Thanks. One interesting theory I have heard is that La Nina may actually increase monsoon activity in the desert southwest because they think it might increase easterly flow transporting more moisture up from the Gulf of Mexico. Another theory is that El Nino can increase moisture over the desert southwest as more moisture is made available southwest off the southern tip of Baja that gets drawn northward up into the desert southwest in a south to southwest flow in the mid levels and aloft. So in theory, it could be that El Nino could have an effect on the North American Monsoon Circulation pattern, possibly displacing the summertime subtropical ridge over the desert southwest to somewhere else.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          It seems that La Nina years (at least in recent memory) have featured more troughing in the NW that has suppressed the 4 Corners High south and east of its usual position, creating a drier southwesterly flow over western AZ, NV, and Socal. This has led to decreased monsoon activity over the region, even though it may have been stronger further east in NM and western TX, but I can’t quite confirm the activity further east as I don’t watch that area as closely.

          • craig matthews

            There’s a lot of theories on this subject out there. In the summer of 2011, I don’t remember seeing even one influx of monsoon moisture up to where I live in central California, and that was a La Nina year. However, in both 1999 and 2008 we had many influx of monsoon moisture and record lightning where I live, and those summertime events took place during La Nina.

  • Utrex
  • c33f

    Thunderheads over the southern Sierra Nevada via satellite and webcam pictures. One of them has a large anvil.

    • craig matthews

      Thanks for posting. Looks like Mineral King getting hit hard.

  • craig matthews

    Seams like a set up for nocturnal thunderstorms over the southern central valley tonight even though its not that time of year.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      There’s really not any moisture to speak of, and instability is pretty weak. I’d peg those chances at below 10%.

  • Utrex

    A trough is most likely going to scrub down during the end of April. Models have picked up a modest trough that will give some decent precipitation. Looking far out this trough will most likely be stormy. It does not look like an AR at all. More evidence? A developing positive PDO, and the main thing: the El Niño. These factors will shove the CA ridge and allow a trough of low-pressure to slip in. Again, it looks dry-ish but divergent, and it looks to carry a lot of shear… This storm is two weeks out so let’s do the rain dance everybody!

  • Severe Wx

    SOI for today April 12th, was 29.34! I know the SOI changes on a daily basis, but there has been a trend toward positive. 30 day average SOI is -.4.80. Hmmmm…I want the March SOI numbers to come back.

    • Dogwood

      For folks like me that need to look this stuff up for further info:
      http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/glossary/soi.shtml

    • craig matthews

      I’m no expert here either, but maybe it is the recent MJO activity that has caused the SOI numbers to fluctuate back to positive. However, once the pulse of westerlies associated with the MJO meet up with the Westerly Wind Burst that is currently developing in the far western pacific, it seams like the Tahiti-Darwin pressure difference should reverse back to a negative SOI value.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      The SOI is very noisy and it really only makes sense to look at trends over months. I would expect the April average will be low once again as the current WWB makes its way east.

  • lightning10

    It is interesting that you bring up that trough. It has been noted that for some reason in years where there is not a lot of rain California tends to get 1-2 late season storms from late April – early June.

  • Kamau40

    Here is another blog that we should read about what looks like a very strong El Nino event later in the year. However, while everything looks to be coming together quite well for this event to happen, the article does shed some good light of wisdom to be careful about the guarantee fact that this will happen in terms of its strength, because it is still too early due to the lesser confidence in the models during the Spring season which was also emphasized in Dan’s(Weather West) updated blog last week. I highly encourage everyone to read about why the +PDO helps to support strong El Nino’s. Again, we do not know if the current PDO which has been in its positive phase for the last 3 months in a row is for the short or long term, only time will tell. Also, the current warm phase of the PDO has not been the constant pattern for many years. Typically the phases lasts for 20-30yrs and we have been generally in the cold phase for only 19yrs. But, historical evidence suggests that these phases do matter and they do impact the strength of El Nino/La Nina events. Dan(the weather man) as well as others, several blogs below, has done a great job of sharing light on this fact too. Therefore, in essence, we really won’t know or have the best idea until about Jun in terms of how strong the upcoming El Nino event will likely to be.

    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2014/04/is-super-el-nino-coming-next-winter.html

    • craig matthews

      I am sorry for saying this again. But I still fail to see clear evidence that shows how the strength of El Nino(in and of itself) is affected by the phases of the PDO. This article states that the strongest El Ninos like to develop during positive PDO phase. But it does not show examples of this happening. I am not saying you are wrong. I am saying that I personally do not see it on paper, and I guess I need it explained in more simplified language, being that I am a simpleton. During the last negative PDO, which started in the late 1940’s or 50’s(not sure exact date) and ended around 1977, we had many El Nino’s, and a strong El Nino in 1957-58, 1965-66, and 1972-73. Also, we had more El Nino events in the 1960’s then in the 1980’s. And the PDO was negative in the 1960’s and positive in the 1980’s. There are more examples I could bring up, but ……Anyway, once again, I am not saying you are wrong, you are probably right, and I am just not getting it. Theoretically, I do get it, where warmer ssts in the eastern pacific off the west coast of North America associated with +PDO seams like would make a more favorable environment for El Nino to develop. One other interesting thing I wonder about is; are the forces(Westerly Wind Bursts, Kelvin wave, etc.) that cause El Nino to develop have any connection with the PDO?

      • Kamau40

        Hi Craig, your input and knowledge makes a lot of sense too and I’m learning from your insights. It is interesting that the years, 1957-58, 65-66, and 72-73 were all very wet years, except for 65-66 with strong El Nino events. Dan(Weather West) made a great comment too a couple of weeks ago on this subject about the PDO, quoted below, that has important weight:

        “While there’s no such thing as a guaranteed outcome when it comes to the atmosphere, I would be extremely surprised at this point if there is not a significant El Nino event by fall. There’s not really a lot of evidence that the PDO in and of itself affects the probability of strong El Nino events. The atmosphere and the ocean respond to physical events–which we call “forcings”–and ultimately the PDO is just one expression of the Pacific Ocean responding to some combination of forcings.There are a number of physical reasons–in the short and long-term–why we should expect the developing El Nino to become quite strong.” While I do believe everything will come together based on everything that is going on in the Tropical Pacific, I’m just being somewhat cautious because it is still very early and I want to make sure everything will materialize before saying this is an absolute slam dunk. We also do not want to be disappointed either if for whatever reason(s) this event weakens later in the year. Though at this point in the game, it looks highly unlikely that it will. By Jun, we will have a much better idea how strong the El Nino event will be and the likely effects it will have on our weather next winter.

        • craig matthews

          Thanks Kamau40. I am learning a lot from you as well as others here too. I think that article you posted is a very good article, even though I questioned their comment “the strongest El Ninos like to develop during +PDO”. In theory, I understand what they are saying, where a +PDO helps support a strong El Nino. That makes sense. But when I look at the historical charts and data I don’t see where the phases of the PDO are having an effect on El Nino. Dan said that ultimately the PDO is just one expression of the pacific ocean responding to some combination of forcings. It seams like the forcings that are involved in developing El Nino are more confined to the tropical/equatorial region of the indian ocean, Maritime, and Pacific, whereas the PDO is an expression of long term forcings going on primarily in the north pacific basin. I still have yet to learn about these forcings and how they respond or interact with each other. But in regards to what is currently taking place in the pacific, it sure seams like we are going to see El Nino develop very soon and possibly become strong.

          • Loyal Brooks

            Well, you guys, me and the rest of the scientific community are very much trying to figure out what role the phase of the PDO has on the ENSO. It is a VERY positive thing you guys are discussing this very issue. All of you here on this blog are adding ideas to what is otherwise not too well understood. Your input does matter!

            About a decade ago, it was widely thought that the PDO had much to do with the ENSO, with a +PDO leading to deeper El Ninos when the time came around for them to occur. However, most of those theories had to be tossed in recent years b/c the actual mechanism of how the PDO affects the ENSO seems more intuitive than can be empirically shown.

            The relationship between the two are related to one another, but the mechanism seems to be more about “atmospheric bridging” than actual entraining of waters between the two (as Mr. Bastardi suggested several weeks ago).

            The developments out in the equatorial Pacific are outstanding, and they will develop largely through known mechanisms. Just how the PDO works its way into ENSO eludes me… Anybody have any ideas on that???

      • Loyal Brooks

        Craig – I have to disagree with you on a very important point. You are NO SIMPLETON!! I do realize that I am stepping right into the middle of an ongoing conversation, and I am not on here long enough (or often enough) to keep up with all of the posts, but when I am able, I do scan the posts, and read more closely ones that go into the deeper issues of global heat storage and exchange (meaning the coupled oceanic/atmospheric system). The mechanisms by which the PDO and the ENSO interrelate are prime topics of interest, at least now.

        The question at hand is how to combine those two – the PDO and ENSO. It seems intuitive that a +PDO would lead to enhanced El Ninos, but that is not actually the case (as you astutely point out). Many older research papers did propose that, but they are no longer considered appropriate due to lack of data to substantiate their theories.

        What actually initiates an El Nino is shrouded in mystery, but once they get started, they follow a relatively understood pattern. They form in the far W Pacific and propagate E via Kelvin waves, driven by the Madden-Julian Oscillation. Here’s a link for you about that very issue that is easy to follow:
        http://www.stormsurf.com/page2/tutorials/enso.shtml

        Keep questioning everything – write out your ideas – who knows, they may be leading on to something substantial!

  • Pingback: The Sunday Best: Last week’s most popular posts and out-clicks » MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK | MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK

  • Utrex

    Models are flip-flopping as to whether it will rain in two weeks or not. You know what this means: something will happen with this ridge. If that is the case then I still have confidence that it will rain in two weeks. Only time shall tell.

    • Sunchaser

      Accuweather’s look ahead showing rain on 23rd and 24th…if thats to be believed this far out !!!!!!! Hope it happens..

      • Utrex

        And wunderground starting to trend wetter next week!

        • Sunchaser

          Looks like the GFS has now flip flopped from wet to dry…dam dam dam..

          • Utrex

            12z gfs is showing rain completely throughout CA… 18z is also coming out soon.

          • Loyal Brooks

            We were in the 70s a few days ago here, and today, we barely went above the thawing point for a few hours. A winter storm warning is posted in this area for heavy snow beginning tomorrow afternoon. Next week we will be back up into the mid 60s.

            To me, this gives credence to the gfs models depicting precip in CA. It appears to me that the best chances for precip out there would be around the 21st- 23rd of the month, right when we are expecting our warm up.

            The only caveat now is that just as our cold air has become just very cool air, and snowy days are now down to around an inch or three, so it is with the precip out there. I don’t think there will be much more than a half inch, and mostly restricted to the Sierra.

          • Kamau40

            Loyal, what are your thoughts about “man-made” climate change? I have always believe that it is a hoax, which in reality it is. I have brought the challenge on this site many times, but unfortunately many people don’t want to hear the truth.There are people on this site who are caught up in the hype.

          • Loyal Brooks

            Kamau40, you summoned me here yet again today – and I got swept away replying to Craig Mathews. He is far and away contributing more than he gives himself credit for.

            Anyway, you have said quite a bit in your question to me, and I am considering how I am going to go about it, and I have found a few sites that are strictly for skeptics – and how those questions get answered.

            You mentioned other things that I agree with and I get what you are saying, but it is always best to try to deal with that with links to help get your point across by actual researchers and recently published papers.

            To dampen the hysteria regarding certain issues that is frequently found here.

          • Kamau40

            I look forward to more of your comments about the “man made” climate change tomorrow or at some point. I have found a couple of good websites that totally debunks the whole “man made” climate change theory. All I have been doing is trying to bring common sense to the table on this website, but apparently the main manager of this website(Dan The Weather Man) and others don’t like to hear the truth regarding climate/weather and how it really works. In fact, when I brought a challenge to their “man made” climate change theories in a blog yesterday, I think Dan somehow was able to erase all of my comments so others would not read it. But, that is okay! Since this is an open forum website of sharing ideas, I will continue to expose the lies of the great hoax in man’s history and that is “man made” climate change. I thought we were on the subject about about the upcoming El Niño pattern, but apparently some people are back to this rediculous debate again. You seem like a reasonable person who has common sense

          • Loyal Brooks

            Hmmm… do you really think that Daniel Swain actually erased some of the material you had presented regarding man-made climate change?? (Or, do you mean Dan TW? It couldn’t by him b/c he is not the site administrator).That is hard to believe, but I guess it is possible. He has let HAARP and Chemtrails stand as written, but he also had an excellent response to them.

            Kamau40, it would really be helpful for me to see what websites you are posting that debunk man-made global warming – that would help me gather information I need for my reply. I have no intention of providing a flip answer to that question. You are asking me a question in all sincerity, and you want to get my take on it.

            Honestly, I don’t know what you are referring to about man-made climate change in how it relates to the developing El Nino – which still may not pan out. Due to my time constraints, I can’t spend a whole lot of time on here, so I do miss out on quite a bit of the debate of which you are speaking.

          • Kamau40

            Thanks for your reply. I actually believe Dan( Weather West) the site administrator erased all my comments that were indeed valid points regarding the fraudulent “man made” climate change hoax. Daniel Swain did not erase my comments about the whole subject matter. In fact, we had a good debate about the whole subject earlier in the year, but he seemed very respectful to my points. I remember providing a book, Climate-Gate, I highly recommended for him to read written by a very well known Veteran Meteorologist, Brian Sussman that he wrote a few years back. Have you ever heard of him? He discusses in the book about all of the unfortunate brainwashing by “Environmentalists” who are promoting the “man made” climate change deception. In regards to El Nino, many of the “man made” climate change groups out there are exaggerated the upcoming event to make it bigger than what it could be. You are right, the event may not happen because as I have been saying all along it is not yet a guaranteed fact. We really won’t have a good idea of how large this event will be until Jun or Jul. According to NOAA, we are still in an El Nino watch which means that conditions in the Pacific Ocean are favorable for the event to happen. The ocean has to above +0.5 threshold for 5 straight months for the event to be official and Dan Swain did a great job of mentioning that a few days ago. All I am doing is providing truth about the climate and weather on this site, but I have an opposing view about man’s influence on the weather. Although it is possible that man can have some influence on the weather in a geographical location, but overall certainly not the whole entire globe and very little influence.

          • Kamau40

            Loyal-
            Here are some websites below I highly recommend for you to study. These are a some excellent ones that discusses why “man made” climate change does not make sense based on the laws of physics and from a scientific point of view. One of the articles also mentions how clouds around the earth’s atmosphere, especially along the ITCZ(Inter-tropical Convergence Zone), has always help to maintain the balance of temperatures globally which is a great thing. Also

          • Kamau40

            There are many great websites online that debunks the whole theory of “man-made” climate change. However, I have found a few in which I will eventually post on this website which supports everything regarding weather/climate being well within natural variability. One of many major flaws I have discovered within the “man made” climate change community is that they claim CO2 is a pollutant, which it is indeed NOT. It is actually in reality Oxygen. CO2 is how we have sustained life on the planet.

          • Loyal Brooks

            Kamau40, I am addressing your question of man-made warming at the very top… I have read all of your links carefully, as well as links out from them.

      • honzik

        Ken Clark wrote about this today – but he mentioned that there is a big discrepancy between the GFS and the European Models, with the GFS pointing to a deeper cut-off low dipping further south.

        Time will tell…

        • Guest

          The more mundane the weather for the rest of the spring, the more weather excitement we will have during the fall and winter. February through September of 1997 set the record for the longest duration without any rain at all in Southern California. Remains from Hurricane Linda (which was once forecast to directly strike Southern California as a hurricane itself, NOT remains of one- it ended up turning away from California and just gave some light showers to the coast) ended this 7+ month dry spell and you know what happened during the 1997-1998 winter. Would you guys rather have a few light showers in April/May followed by a regular 2014-2015 winter OR NO more rain for the rest of spring followed by an epic 2014-2015 year?

  • Utrex

    Don’t forget about the total lunar eclipse tomorrow! Monday night – Tuesday morning!

  • Xerophobe

    Seems like the trade winds are kinda wonky from New Guinea to just west of the date line?

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      Yep. For a big El Nino to really get going, though, we still need to see this westerly anomaly push further into the central and east Pacific. That will become more likely to occur once the powerful Kelvin wave continues to shall/surface.

  • Loyal Brooks

    Xerophobe is on to some very “unusual winds” that come from the west along the equator, but as they hit the ocean flowing eastward, part of that kinetic energy flows both just north and just south of the equator. Intense storms are forming very close to the equator N and NE of Australia – and is still further evidence just how significant those westerly wind bursts have been in that region. This is highly unusual – and significant to our developing El Nino. I have provided links to global surface winds updated every 3 hours several times now to show this in detail, but somehow very few look at it. Kenau40 knows the link to it, and I have provided it before that, but I don’t have the time right now to find once again. It is not too far from here and if anyone wants to look at this amazing phenomena, check it out!

    Also, Ultrex shows below some significant possible QPF (quantitative precip forecast) coming up for CA, and quickly looking at the set-up of things across the N hemisphere, this wouldn’t be too surprising. We here are returning to winter in a hard way beginning today, and will be shoveling new snow again very soon. Variation like this here often shows up in variation out in CA. This keeps Ultrex’s possible QPF in the realm of reality. I hope it pans out.

    • Utrex

      Regarding winds, I use this map to observe global winds at 850 hPa:

      http://earth.nullschool.net

      There indeed is a WWB… And weaker trade winds. Believe-it-or-not we are at a weak El Niño already. 0.5 C° at the Nino 3.4 region… and increasing. Should the trade winds flow eastward, I would not be surprised. Either way, if any El Niño comes to light this winter it will be super.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        If 0.5 C°+ continues in the Nino 3.4 region, an official El Nino event will likely be declared around the August-September-October 3 month period if I am counting my overlapping 3 month periods correctly.

        • Cliff Collipriest

          I want to thank everyone for their input and information. As a lay observer I find all of this fascinating. From the effects of Asian pollution, to the record warm ocean temps and on to the possibilities of a “Super El Nino” I find this riveting stuff. Better yet, I am learning a thing or two. Thanks to Dan for the site and to the rest of you who provide data, links and ideas.

      • Loyal Brooks

        Ultrex, that is one of the maps I had in mind. In the past 10 days or so, there have been some curiously strong storms both sides of the equator at around 5 degrees, right where a WWB occurred. There is so much energy being spent out there. Remarkable. Also, notice from the central Indian ocean to N. of the Solomon Islands there are no longer easterly winds. This region of westerly winds at the equator is gradually propagating eastward — this is an excellent sign of further development.

        Of course, in the full development of the hoped-for El Nino, esp. region 3.4, the winds don’t exactly work eastward all the way across the ocean. In some places the easterly winds will merely weaken, and the warmer waters of the Pacific will rise up from below towards the surface. Once that water is on the surface of the ocean, the atmosphere is able to tap that, couple with that, and work with that to produce the large changes to the global circulation.

        It looks more probable every day, but it must be said that it is not yet a “done deal.” With that said, you are providing excellent info here – great for this discussion. Keep up your excellent work!

        • Xerophobe
          • Loyal Brooks

            Actually, yes, I showed the above pic to illustrate the normal “meteorological equator,” better known as the ITCZ (intertropical convergence zone). That belt of storminess wraps around the world almost entirely – most of the time. Then, I showed Ultrex’s link of global winds to demonstrate that the western Pacific definitely is not in any typical mode at all, and the computer-generated winds show increasing westerly winds as mentioned above. The particular day I provided that link showed 2 very deep storms on either side of the equator just NE of Australia.

            I tied it all together with the roberscibbler’s website that details the conditions in the Pacific – and why he believes there may be a “Super El NIno.” There are so many links from there regarding Kelvin waves, the warm pool of water below the surface of the central Pacific, it’s propagating eastward, etc..

            Presenting that information runs off of the 2 paragraphs that show, and you need to click for more. I suspect many don’t do that, but you obviously have. Thanks!

  • Dan the Weatherman

    Despite my area here in Orange being under a Wind Advisory this morning and being a Santa Ana wind prone area, there was no wind to speak of here, but it was much warmer than it was yesterday. It was in the mid 80’s this afternoon, while it was in the upper 60’s yesterday.
    It seems that NWS San Diego has issued a lot of Wind Advisories for my region (which is located near the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains), in the last couple of years, only to wake up and have little to no wind here with breezy conditions at best. During the same period, when a High Wind Warning was issued, the winds were only strong enough to qualify for an advisory if even that. The Santa Ana winds overall have been weaker the last 3 years or so than they used to be around here for some reason and I believe it is tied in with the ultra dry regime we have been dealing with.
    I just feel as if our weather patterns the last 3 years have really been watered down from what they used to be, and I hope that this changes this year with this potential El Nino in the making.

    • stormsurge10

      They probably got mixed up with the regions, because it was actually pretty windy down here in San Diego.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        The winds must have favored places further inland and further south of my location.

        • stormsurge10

          Hmmm, I smell HAARP at work!

          Just kidding, I think NWS got confused and listed Los Angeles instead of my area under wind advisory.

          On a side note, it seems pretty cloudy here now…

  • Sunchaser

    View of the ” Blood Moon” Lunar Eclipse from my backyard here in the SE part of Glendale, Ca

  • Utrex

    A few space shots of the sky…

    You can see the moon is red. The little dot is Spica, one of the brightest stars.

    Didn’t have any good cameras ready… But these will do

    To get a closer look, click on the images!!

  • Dan the Weatherman

    I have been viewing the eclipse here in Socal as it has been mostly clear with some thin high clouds moving through. The color of the moon is an orange-red somewhat like having thick smoke from a brush fire obscuring the moon, but with the right bottom side being brighter than the rest. Totality began at 12:06 a.m. and I will go back out to look again when it emerges from totality.

  • TheNothing
  • TheNothing
  • TheNothing
  • lightning10

    This sure didn’t help California. Some are claiming that the polution in Asia is helping the US get stronger winter storms.

    http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/04/15/pollution-from-asia-strengthening-storms-in-north-america-study-finds/

    • craig matthews

      Dan the Weatherman brought up how bad air pollution was in Asia this last winter, and there was a question as to whether this was contributing to the RRR, and lack of zonal flow in the mid latitudes across the pacific in the last few winters. If in fact this pollution is making winter storms stronger, I am wondering if this is causing downstream ridging to become stronger in response.

      • Dan the Weatherman

        I have been wondering if the pollution in China is somehow acting as a constant forcing mechanism that is modifying the weather patterns on a regional scale in China and surrounding areas, which, in turn, is modifying the patterns downstream and causing the RRR to be ultra persistent as well as the east coast trough. It seems that when the pattern has tried to change here in CA during the last couple of winters to a stormier one, the ridge just bounces back quicker than I can ever remember it doing so in the past.

        • craig matthews

          Yes, what you are saying makes sense. And like you said, we’ll have to wait and see what happens in the coming years.

    • Xerophobe

      These aerosols may increase precipitation much like El Chichón volcano eruption in 82-83 El Nino year is said to have increased precip that season. In Monterey Bay, you can see this China haze on clear days looking north up along CA coast. The particulates have even been traced to certain power plants based on their “soot” signatures. Yeah real CSI stuff!

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      Just skimmed the original study, available here:
      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/04/09/1403364111.full.pdf+html

      The authors do show an intensification of the storm track over the northwest Pacific, but it’s not entirely clear what effect this has downstream (over California/North America). The effect discussed here is not huge, and would be (at the most) a modest contributor to the recent anomalous pattern.

      Still–this is fascinating stuff.

      • craig matthews

        I’ve been wondering it an intensification of storm systems in the northwest pacific is causing a displacement of the Aleutian Low over the course of the last decade.

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Here’s some early evidence linking the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge to climate change. There will be a quite a bit more on this subject in the coming months:

    http://news.cisc.gmu.edu/doc/CA_drought_research.pdf

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      Unfortunately, the associated study is not freely available at this time, but those with institutional access can find it here:

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL059748/abstract

      • stormsurge10

        Pretty sure it’s the HAARP! I can almost smell it from my house!

        All sarcasm aside, I do fear that the RRR could be a new recurring theme of CA weather. If it ever does, who knows? We could be looking at the same kind of drought that starved off the Anasazi…

    • craig matthews

      Weather West, I find this research extremely interesting and I wish I could get the whole document. My slow computer only lets me read page one. The discussion that I find particularly interesting in this research is that they are finding this dipole expression(strong High/Low) from the northeast pacific to eastern North America as a precursor to an El Nino event the following winter. I have always wondered about possible precursors, or signals that are seen during a winter prior to an El Nino the next winter. Hopefully I will be able to gain more access to this info as I am very interested in this particular topic. Thanks for posting it.

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        Eventually (i.e. later this summer), I’ll have a retrospective on the RRR and should be able to include some of the actual figures from recent papers. Until then, I’ll continue to link to these findings as they come out.

  • lightning10

    For all the people who do not like the new weather underground you can use the old one :)

    http://classic.wunderground.com

    • Utrex

      Thank goodness… New wunderground doesn’t even use the same forecasts…

  • Utrex

    We need to be aware that tree rings are not a guaranteed source of drought – it may also be a widespread parasite which caused trees to go deceased, giving off the impression of a drought… a false alarm if you will. I doubt that there were episodes with no rain at all for 600 years straight. What could explain the Indians which lived in California since 0 B.C.?

    • lightning10

      They could have boiled salt water.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      I don’t think anyone’s ever made the claim that no rain at all fell for 600 years at any point in human history in the region currently known as California. Even if that were the case (which would indeed make the whole area an inhospitable wasteland drier than even the driest desert on Earth today), tree rings (presuming that trees could survive 600 years without water) lack the high temporal resolution to tell us that no rain vs. little rain fell. That is: there is really no way for us to know if any individual year actually received zero rainfall or whether overall precipitation was just extremely low. We would know for sure if California had gone 600 years without rain, though, since all the trees would have died!

      • Utrex

        Excuse my claim; I seem to have misread, but about last year I was reading an article on something relative to the tree rings and a 600-year drought with no rainfall… Seems like that obviously was an exaggeration, and I seemed to buy into it.

        • stormsurge10

          Might have been an exaggeration, but who knows? A 600-year period with literally not a drop of rain is possible…

          (Atacama Desert or Dry Valleys, anyone?)

          • Loyal Brooks

            The Atacama Desert is dry for very specific reasons. First, it is on the leeward side of the Andes in an otherwise wet region. The Andes mountains effectively block moisture from the Amazon basin (and just to it’s south), keeping the skies clear. The Pacific just to the west is usually relatively cool, so that reduces any chance of local shower activity along the coast. In addition to all of that, most of the region is overall in an area of almost permanent high pressure, which acts to suppress convection it there ever were moisture available to work with.

            During El Nino years, parts of the Atacama desert flood due to the rare cloudbursts that occur in association with that.

            Dry valleys exist in Antarctica, and they are simply valleys where glacial ice has surged downstream, and left a valley (or area) without any glacial ice. Although the precipitation is extremely low, those iceless valleys will eventually fill with ice again.

          • stormsurge10

            True. In fact, the winds that blow through the Dry Valleys are heated enough (traveling faster than 100 mph) that all moisture is pretty much pushed out.

            My point in response to him was that considering the desert climate in our region, especially here in SoCal, 500-1000 (or longer) year periods of literally not one drop of rain is possible.

          • Loyal Brooks

            Perhaps, but also keep in mind S CA lies within the dynamic westerlies for part of every year, and precipitation-bearing fronts will push through the region, especially since it is the first thing a storm encounters when it crashes onto North America.

            I can see how that MAY have happened before in places, but certainly not on an ongoing basis. The fossil record is full of vegetation there, right up to the present time. It is very difficult to account for vegetated lands that also don’t receive rainfall!

          • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

            1000 years with literally no rainfall is essentially impossible under almost any conceivable climate on Earth. It’s possible to go years–even decades–without measurable precip, but as others have pointed out, there needs to be pretty extreme geographical conditions for that to happen and California just does not reside in the right geological setting for such truly extreme dry events to occur. As we got a taste of this year, though, even a single year with zero rainfall in California would be an extraordinarily dire event from the perspective of just about any living thing in the region!

      • Loyal Brooks

        Yes, the trees would have died! Consider the thousands-year-old trees in the Sierra: How would those junipers and Sequoias have dealt with decades upon decades of no precipitation? They wouldn’t have! (You can make the same argument about the bristlecone pine in the White mountains, and limber pine in scattered desert ranges and elsewhere).

        Go check out the Sinai Desert, for example, sometime and get back to me on how well trees fare in regions of extremely low rainfall year after year.

        Also, you can use geology to trace back to periods of lack of fluvial (water-related) erosion – but again, that would only work over a span of time (perhaps centuries). You would never be able to isolate a single year and say (with credibility) it must not have rained that year – the resolution just isn’t there going that route either.

    • Loyal Brooks

      Or…. it could tree rings may have been very small due to cool and brief summers even during wet years. A lot goes into reading – and gaining meaningful data – from those rings. It needs to match up with other clues from different sources to nail down what kind of conditions were playing out during those years.

      • craig matthews

        I kinda wonder about the mega drought that is found in tree rings in the California/Nevada area that occurred in the 1500s, because I thought that was the century known for the mini ice age in parts of Europe and other countries. I could have this info wrong, but I seam to recall there being a major volcanic eruption around the 1500s that was so enormous that some believe it was the cause of the mini ice age. Now this got me thinking of how that major volcanic eruption that cooled the earth by a considerable amount may have caused summers in California to become short and cool, thus stunting the growing season to make tree rings appear closer together, making it look like there was a mega drought even if California had wet winters during that time.

  • Kamau40

    Don’t buy into the hype about “man made” climate change and El Nino. This is another reason why we need to be wise and cautious about making such long range predictions about climate including ocean warming, which encompasses the strength of El Nino events. Please read article below which is highly based on facts:
    http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2014/04/10/the-201415-el-nino-part-2-the-alarmist-misinformation-bs-begins/

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Attention Weather West members: a site re-design is in the works (and is, in fact, almost compete). A beta preview is available at the following link:

    http://www.weatherwest.com/?theme=wp-radiance103

    Most site functionality will remain exactly the same, and I actually expect the transition to be simpler than the transition to Disqus. No new passwords/usernames, I promise! If you have any major issues with the new design, please let me know.

    Thanks!

  • Utrex

    If anyone took the time to notice global winds, you could easily see that equatorial trade winds are indeed weakening. If these winds were to reverse, we could get the basin to push eastward, making for a full-basin El Niño.

    • stormsurge10

      I smell HAARP…

      In all seriousness, I really do hope we get a full-basin El Nino.

    • Xerophobe

      It appears at least for now to have moved slightly more East a little past 180W

    • craig matthews

      Yes, it is amazing how strong this 3rd WWB has become. And seeing the trade winds weakening further east is a good sign that the WWB should be able to progress eastward across the equatorial pacific. Satellite shows an expansion of large areas of convection further east from the date line as well. Should make for an increase in ssts very soon across the equator toward south America.

  • Utrex

    Wednesday of next week looks unstable with steep lapse rates and very cold upper-level temperature. For now, we could see thunderstorms form. However, our spring predictability barrier is making forecasts less accurate so the weather can certainly change. Shear amounts favorable for supercells doesn’t look imminent, however that may change within the week. Or, we might just get rain or no rain.

    • craig matthews

      I hope that cold low that the current GFS shows dropping southeast into norcal early next week will track just a little further west and south then what the current model shows. Even still, if that low track as current GFS forecast, it should be like you are saying. And we could get snow down to 3500 feet. These cold lows in april always seam to bring exciting weather especially across the central valley. Perhaps California tornado season is not over yet.

  • rainscout

    The word “normal” in calif seems a thing of the past .. No one on this forum probably has to be reminded of our ” weather” ..of the last ..well..extended period of time… Not just a few years .. But maybe a few decades.. Which seems to be above normal temps with below normal precipitation.. And I don’t mean a few degrees above normal.. More like 10 ..15 .. 20 degrees above normal throughout fall .. Winter … Spring…summer is well…summer in Calif…Not much to get excited about..as far as variable weather goes…even given the historic aspect of drought in calif…can’t help but figure some very strong human impacts on what we have possibly brought on Calif and many other vulnerable areas of the planet…just say’in…

  • cabeza tormenta

    interesting informative discussions. long time weather watcher in S.F. bay area, just wanted to mention something only slightly off topic, for the last three months I’ve been watching the weather update on NHK world news (Japan) and they have a good crisp overview of asia with uncluttered useful graphics of storms, rainfall etc…plus usually north america and europe and right now New Zealand, where the remains of cyclone ‘ITA’ have strengthened into quite a powerful subtropical storm drenching new zealand. after watching for three month there doesn’t seem to have been ANY significant rain in northern China the entire time, there is the huge Himylayan rain shadow, so I know a lot of that area is arid but it seems excessive! any connection with our drought?
    in the bay area NHK is on on air broadcast from KCSM on the MH channel, that’s 60.1 at 8:30p.m.
    I kind of scratch my head about treee rings and mega drought too how dry can it be and still have the trees live to record the drought? and the submerged trees in tahoe.. I wonder if some geological and not meteorological phenomena could have lowered the lake, maybe that’s been accounted for, don’t know.
    looking forward to a drenching in the bean patch, let that storm squeek by the high!

    • Dan the Weatherman

      There is an article from Western Washington University (WWU) I have found that discusses Asian air pollution and how it may be affecting weather patterns, and it mentions the drought in northern China as well as increased flooding in southern China. Here is an excerpt from the article (from page 2) and the link to the article is just below it:

      “However, research over the last decade suggests that the observed trend toward increased summer floods in south China and drought in north China, thought to be the largest change in precipitation trends since 950 A.D., may have an alternative explanation: human-made absorbing aerosols, mainly black carbon soot, that alter the regional atmospheric circulation and contribute to regional climate change (Menon, et al., 2002; Rosenfeld, et al., 2007).”

      http://fire.biol.wwu.edu/trent/alles/AirPollution.pdf

  • Chowpow

    How does the thunderstorm potential look for this Friday over the Sierra in the I80 area?

    • Utrex

      Thunderstorm chances look good instability wise, but moisture is the problem. Still, there should be sufficient moisture to produce air-mass thunderstorms across some portions, mainly north of I80 zones.

  • craig matthews

    Has anyone noticed what the latest ECMWF model is showing 10 days from now. This models has really trended in a stormy wet direction for California toward the end of this month. GFS is also trending this way. It would be nice to keep our California hills a little greener for a little while longer this spring.

  • Utrex

    A double-barrel mid-latitude cyclone will sit offshore of British Columbia… On Monday to Wednesday of next week… Look for stormy activity to gradually spread inland California… By Tuesday late evening and Wednesday afternoon… Expect thunderstorms… On Wednesday afternoon… Expect possible strong thunderstorms with hail…

  • OnShoreFlow

    GFS has had great run to run consistency with a NW oriented jet slamming into norcal next Wednesday. Would be nice for that high to park it at 160 for a long duration…why not this season go out with some long wave bombs in the 4th quarter…Clutch!

  • Loyal Brooks

    I have been looking out to this possible precipitation scenario occurring on the 21st -23rd, and what I find is that the Weather Prediction Center’s evaluation of this developing situation discusses a cut-off low entering CA along the N coast, and down into the Bay Area Tuesday morning. Not all models are in agreement, which is typical – because the best forecast comes from combining models with good run-to-run agreement, and giving far less weight to outliers.

    http://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/discussions/hpcdiscussions.php?disc=pmdepd

    On this link , you can see how they look at different models, weigh each one differently given a particular situation, and later in the discussion provide “sensible weather highlights,” which is how you say “weather for people on the ground and what they will experience.” They are acknowledging this low will come ashore in N CA, but looking at other computer ensemble outputs on the resulting precipitation, it still looks like a light rain event, with most of it concentrated in higher elevations. I wouldn’t completely rule out the possibility that a few T-storms may develop in the Sac. valley.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      Yep–looks like mostly light precip for NorCal and not much at all in the south, although there will probably be some t-storms over the Sac Valley and Sierra foothills at some point on Tuesday next. Some hint of more unsettled conditions out around day 10+, although we’re reaching the time of year when significant precip becomes pretty unlikely.

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    Thanks! Yes, that’s the story with ads, I’m afraid (though I think it’s considerably less than 1/3 of the space ;) ). Increased traffic on Weather West is great news, but it also means that operating the site becomes quite a bit more expensive; for this reason, the ads will remain.

  • Kamau40

    Here are several websites that debunks the theory of “man made” climate change both scientifically and from a physical perspective. It’s all about truth we cannot run from when it comes to studying climate/weather:
    http://blog.independent.org/2012/01/28/leading-scientists-debunk-climate-alarmism/
    http://climatephysics.com/
    http://patriotpost.us/pages/33

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      I reviewed the links you posted, and the claims made therein only make sense if one ignores basic meteorological principles–the very same physical laws we use to predict the day-to-day weather. There is an overwhelming body of factual, scientific evidence that observed changes in global climate over the past 100 years or so are a direct result of human activities. To claim otherwise is to deny the physical realities of the planet we inhabit. There’s certainly room for discussion regarding exactly where we’re headed in the future, but that the climate of the past century has changed in response human emission of greenhouse gases is a demonstrable fact.

      On that note, I’ll like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that all discussion on this site is welcome so long as it remains within the realm of fact-based inquiry. This is the best way to ensure that the discussion stays on-topic and focused on the weather and climate of California. Thanks!

      • Kamau40

        So, what data information you have to prove that human induced climate change has happened during the last 100yrs? Also, how do you explain why the 1930s was actually the hottest and driest decade during the 20th century in the US compared to now? Also, keep in mind that many of the data records during the 20th century has been proven to be skewed and flawed by those who support “man made” climate change. Also, since 2000 temperatures has actually been on the decrease and polar ice caps has been increasing not shrinking. How do you explain these events?

        • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

          It’s not clear to me what what you mean when you say that data have been “skewed,” but the (numerous) available 20th Century global temperature records assimilated from a vast array of data sources and observational platforms categorically demonstrate robust, statistically significant global warming. In fact, the past decade was the warmest in the observed record (despite a decrease in the short-term rate of warming). Between 1979 and 2013, Arctic sea ice lost fully 75% of its volume, and land ice sheets (like Greenland, for example) have been melting at a much increased rate over the past decade. These are all observations of the present, not predictions for the future. In other words, this is our objective reality, whether we like it or not. I previously asked that discussion remain fact-based, and I’ll repeat that request again now. Thanks!

          • Kamau40

            Actually, the better terminology should of been the exaggeration of climate models over the past century to support the claim of “man made” climate change. According to NASA data and satellite reports in recent years, the earth has actually warmed only .34F during the last century and essentially remained flat since the year 2000. The data has also shown an increase in glacier ice during the past decade at the Artic poles and the rate of decrease has actually been proven to be false. Yes, as you know, I have linked up websites on this blog to support my claims that is fact based.

    • craig matthews

      Interesting reading material. We should view all of the scientific data as it is with an un bias approach, instead of pickin and choosing certain things out of the pile that fit into our preconceived ideas in our heads.

      • Kamau40

        Thank you. Whenever I review scientific data and information, as long as I know the sources that are provided has a high degree of credibility, I will certainly approach it with an un biased approached. Unfortunately, there are many sources out there that has a very biased approached toward science, climate, and weather to support their views of “man made” climate change. All I am doing is showing the facts with credible sources and information written by actual scientists, meteorologists, climatetologists, and phycists that I have been reviewing and studying for many years who are able to refute the claim of the exaggeration of human induced climate change.

    • Flunking_retirement

      I haven’t been around much this winter, so it would be foolish of me to anything I cant back up factually, but I feel compelled to say this and Ill just set it down and leave it for y’all to jawbone over if you want. Spent the weekend up around Ukiah, Hopland, Santa Rosa, and the Russian River and must say, – and I understand the rains last month have helped things – , but I gotta tell you Mendocino County is about as green as the Blue Ridge mountains in June right now. If you’ve never been back east where Im from, that’s pretty damned green! The grapes,and apples and pears are all nice and bushy. Same thing goes for all the vineyards along the 101 down to San Luis Obispo and thereabouts .

      Not so however over in the central valley along the 5. Fields are laying bare and fallow, or dried up, orchards are dying, there’s some fields in use, but not as many as there used to be. I could mention certain politicians that act like they represent the delta smelt more than they do the voters, and ranchers and their workers, but Ill leave at that. We have a lot to be thankful for in California, and droughts are something we all live with. They don’t call it sunny California for nothing. One of these days it will rain, and then well all be complaining about that.

  • Mike Stephenson

    I think we should open up the isthmus of panama!

  • Utrex

    The trade winds weakened dramatically today and yesterday…

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      There’s an ongoing westerly wind burst near the Date Line. I’m still waiting to see if we can muster a big one further east…

  • lightning10

    The fault is acting up again around the world. Must be a record number of 7.x earthquakes.

    • Xerophobe

      Yup. Is it my imagination or do they seem to travel along the ring of fire in a counter-clockwise direction?

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        If only it were that simple! There can be some regional triggering (i.e. an earthquake can trigger a new earthquake nearby under some conditions, which can occasionally be even larger than the initial one), but in general there’s not a coherent or symmetrical pattern of activity around the Pacific Plate.

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      The number of 7.x magnitude earthquakes is not much different from background right now. A number of the recent ones have occurred in places where people live, however, rather than out in the open ocean, so they’ve gotten more attention.

  • Utrex

    New models suggest rather stronger instability in the Sierras south of I80… so thunderstorms will certainly develop over the mts. today.

    • rob b

      I can add, being in Truckee currently within the last hr (10am) the clouds have really started to build up and look dark towards the Southwest.

  • Utrex
    • Utrex

      I’d like to add that this is NOT an atmospheric river…

    • Bartshe

      Dreamy!

    • stormsurge10

      SoCal gets to see some thunderstorm activity!?

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    The system slated for early next week looks quite weak, and may not even be strong enough to bring measurable precip to the Bay Area (an isolated t-storm may still be possible in the Sac Valley, but this does not look like a big severe weather producer).

    The GFS is hinting that a more substantial storm system may affect California out around days 8/9, which would have the potential to bring soaking rainfall and possible thunderstorm activity to a larger portion of the state. However, other models are not in agreement and significant precipitation is not favored climatologically during the end of April. I’ll have an update this weekend.

  • Loyal Brooks

    Kamau40 requested my take on the reality of man-made global warming. I read the links provided, and it is safe to say there isn’t going to be a way to present any data, facts, or reports of actual research that will change their belief. I found statements such as “oxygen is a pollutant, not CO2″ – which is unrelated to global warming ENTIRELY. That is what you call sidestepping the issue. A more shocking reason why this is a hoax came from climatephysics.com, and to quote (addressing a common question that should be raised):

    “Alternatively, one may ask which one of the twenty-some models settled the science so that all the rest could be discarded along with the research funds that have kept those models alive. …. Not a single climate model predicted the current cooling phase. If the science were settled, the model (singular) would have predicted it.”

    When using computers to model the complex behavior of the fluid atmosphere, we NEED many of them so we can find ones that best match what we observe in order to make better forecasts. it is NOT scientific to just use one single model and say “well that proves it.”

    Overall, to be able to go along with the claims made in those links, one must be willing to suspend known facts of fluid dynamics and the known behavior of its chemical constituents. If global warming is NOT man-made, then where is THAT data? Instead, there is only commentary of tearing down other scientific reasonings based mostly on semantics.

    This website addresses many misconceptions, but I am not so sure that those that refuse to believe it will ever be willing to actually look at the data.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

    • alanstorm

      Well if those Brainiacs who program the computer models neglected to add your “Chaos Theory” to the mix, then the “Scientific Method” could be rendered useless in this case, right?

      • Loyal Brooks

        I don’t recall writing anything about “Chaos Theory,” or that it is in any way mine. I did address this particular subject because I was specifically asked – and I was provided links to look at where the information came from. The reply above is specific to a particular question from a particular person who had real websites to back up what he thought. He asked my take on those links provided – and I followed through what I said I would do.

        I believe any idea has a fair place in the discussion here, but it is always best to provide links to back up your claim if it is different or separate from what others are talking about. Doing so gives the rest of us a chance to look into it. That lends credibility to this site. Kamau40 did the right thing, showed where some of his information came from, and the rest of us can go from there.

        • alanstorm

          No, I meant when you pointed out to me way back in a previous post in Jan that the Theory of Chaos could have something to do with the great mystery of the RRR, I thought it might apply to the innacuracy of computer models that are being referred to now. I was agreeing with your reply and applying it to the current, & assuming you’d remember our friendly exchange. I meant “your theory of choas” as per your idea you brought up. Seems like a good one not discussed as far as anomolous global weather patterns are concerned. ANYWAY-

          • Loyal Brooks

            OK, sorry that I don’t remember that conversation – I missed the connection. My bad! I found this blog at the beginning of January, and I remember asking you where you live in Mendo. county, b/c you were seeing so many trees dying. I asked you specifics about that. I looked back during that month, and I see that I wrote about computer modeling having difficulties in weather forecasting b/c the data out is only as good as the data in (there are large blank areas over the open oceans – but satellites are helping to fill that in). I only see it in my post list – I have no idea who I was writing to.

            Honestly, I couldn’t write intelligently about any Theory of Chaos, b/c I don’t know what that is (in a weather sense). I think you are talking about entropy constantly entering the system while the models are still computing the data they already have. You are correct that it does not get enough attention in weather blogs, but it is not so much of an issue with climate. And, it zeros out in longer-range climate, such as decades. ARE WE GOOD? YES!

          • alanstorm

            Yes, entropy! That’s it.

          • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

            “Chaos” has a very specific meaning in a mathematical sense. It does not mean that things are disorganized, per se, but rather that the evolution of the system is not deterministic–even with near-perfect knowledge of initial conditions, it’s not even theoretically possible to predict the exact state of the system at some distant point in the future. This is an emergent property of our atmosphere, and it’s not something that’s coded into models–it’s an intrinsic property of any mathematical model that incorporates initial conditions.

            This is precisely why we can make projections for climate in 2100 but can’t make a weather forecast for 1pm on June 12, 2014. The June 12th forecast is subject to huge uncertainty given the sensitivity of our atmospheric models to the initial state of the atmosphere (you know, even that butterfly flapping its wings!), but if we run the same model a bunch of different times with different initial conditions and average over time and space to make a climate projection, we start to get a pretty good idea how things will look in 90 years because we have some idea of the range of possible outcomes.

    • Kamau40

      Loyal, thank you for at least taking the time to look at the ever continue debatable issue. I appreciate your honest opinion on the credible sources I provided. You are right, unfortunately there are many of those who are unwilling to actually look and interpret credible data and sources such as the website above that refute the claim of human induced climate change. Therefore, I foresee the debate on this subject will continue to be an ongoing issue.

  • Utrex
  • alanstorm

    Statewide, that storm 9 days out looks very wet & statewide. There goes my plans! This late in the year it has to trigger some severe weather. Will I be again attempting to “punch the core” in Tornado Valley?
    Oh, & yet ANOTHER 7+ earthquake in the Ring of Fire, today in New Guinea. I know, I know, probably only knocked a few heads off some poles, but seems like a daily occurance now. If you look at the ROF, the last month has seen MANY large quakes everywhere except Calif & Alaska. Logic dictates those places are next for some “adjustment”. Better put your Reed Trimmer coffee mug in a safe place.

  • craig matthews

    Has anyone checked out the Climate Prediction Center (CPC) Prognostic discussion for long lead outlooks updated on April 17. Very interesting discussion on major changes in both atmospheric and oceanic conditions that have taken place in the equatorial pacific in the last few months. “Suppressed convection that has been surprisingly dominant near the dateline during late 2013 and early 2014 has disappeared entirely and now has seen transient of stronger then normal convection”. They have also bumped up chances for El Nino from 50% this summer to 65% by fall. Still seams like a conservative number, but its a growing number.

  • lightning10

    New models are bone dry for Southern California. Slightly cooler temps in the short term. Then a big time ridge of high pressure explodes over the area.

    • OnShoreFlow

      the models will flip flop this time of year during a change in the pattern…the ridge IS moving next week, but who knows what position it will sit in…

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    As I expected, models trending much drier for next 1-2 weeks over NorCal, with little to nothing for SoCal. Still expecting a couple shower/iso. t-storm events between now and the end of the month, but precip should fairly light overall and mostly confined to the north. Update tomorrow.

    • OnShoreFlow

      what about the Canadian model still showing 2 strong waves next weekend with a good soaking down the whole coast?

      i know its probably an outlier, but the GFS was just showing this a few runs ago…

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        True, although rain that significant this time of year would be pretty unusual, especially given the prevailing pattern. Not out of the question, but right now doesn’t look like there will be a tremendous amount of precip (still, widespread showers will be nice)…

  • Kamau40

    El Nino prediction among climate scientists is in the National Geographic. The article reveals that climate scientists is increasing the odds of an El Nino event by the end of the year from 50%-65%. But, in terms of its actual strength, still need to wait a couple of more months or so because the predictability during the Spring is very difficult to make, which is what I have also been saying all along. Nevertheless the article depicts how bullish the long range models are during this time of year for the upcoming El Nino event. See article link below:
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/04/140412-el-nino-weather-forecast-science-climate-change-la-nina/#close-modal

  • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

    All right–the new site is live and should be totally functional. Let me know if you have any problems!

    • Zepp

      No problems here. Looks beautiful!

      • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

        Thanks, all! In the near future I’ll also be expanding the links page considerably, since it’s still pretty clunky and not particularly comprehensive.

    • stormsurge10

      I’m loving the new layout!

    • redlands

      the site has changed — thought I was on the wrong site

  • so.cal.storm.lover

    All the websites predicting el nino say its not gonna be strong because of the pdo cool phase do you think that the pdo just changed warm for a short period or for a long period?

    • http://www.weatherwest.com/ Weather West

      I’m not convinced by the PDO argument. The PDO itself is in large part defined by ENSO teleconnections, so it’s hard to argue that the PDO actually exerts a causal influence back upon ENSO. The PDO background state may well affect the teleconnections associated with the developing El Nino event, though even then what ends up happening in California depends mostly on whether it’s an East vs. Central Pacific-focused El Nino event. We shall see…but right now, everything still appears to be as on track as it could be at this point. Full update later today!

    • Utrex

      The PDO is an after-effect of the ENSO.

  • redlands

    testing

    • Dan the Weatherman

      Testing… First time I logged into the new site.

      EDIT: No problems found.

  • Loyal Brooks

    Daniel Swain has an excellent point to make about the PDO and it’s relation to the ENSO. I cannot find any recent data that supports the notion that the PDO actually has any influence on the development of this or any El Nino. Ultrex says it most simply only a few comments below this one.

    Now, on to the the important matter. JK. I was promised a line of ads on the side, and they are not there. All there is, on my screen, is a search box, a few tweets, and a section for popular and recent posts, comments and archives to quickly jump to another section. This is very slick and smooth layout, and the resources available here are easy to search and find. Better than I expected! Thanks, Dan!

  • craig matthews

    Hey, like the new site. So, my hopes are high for a strong El Nino, but still need to see it materialize. My big fear is we may end up with a weak to moderate El Nino with a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation and strongly negative NAO. Seams like that set up reduces California chances for having a wet winter. But in all actuality, and I think someone else brought this up too, we may end up having a wet winter next year no matter what happens with ENSO. I’m just getting tired of these dry winters. Enough is enough!

    • Dan the Weatherman

      I am really getting tired of the dry winters, too. These haven’t just been dry winters, they have been ultra dry, almost to the point of being among the driest on record. As a matter of fact, if downtown Los Angeles doesn’t receive another drop of rain between now and the end of June, it would be the first time L.A. records two consecutive sub 7″ rainy seasons, and their records date back to 1877.

  • Utrex

    Those who are skeptical of an early El Niño developing during spring have to see this.

    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/orthographic=-140.56,0.00,266

    The winds are ready for an El Niño.