Special update on El Niño 2014: Recent observations, forecasts, and potential impacts in California

Filed in Uncategorized by on May 14, 2014 222 Comments

One of the few things growing more rapidly than the Eastern Pacific sea surface temperature anomalies in recent weeks has been media speculation regarding the future evolution of El Niño conditions in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and potential meteorological impacts upon various regions around the globe.

Positive SST anomalies already extend across the entire Pacific Basin. (NOAA/NESDIS)

Positive SST anomalies already extend across the entire Pacific Basin. (NOAA/NESDIS)

Given the recent explosion in interest regarding El Niño and its potential effects upon California in particular, I’ve attempted to summarize some of the most important aspects of the developing event and the science behind it. While this discussion is by no means exhaustive, hopefully it provides a helpful starting point in navigating what appears increasingly likely to become a rather interesting year from a global climate perspective.

What is El Niño?

“El Niño” is the name scientists have given to the episodic warming of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. This ocean warming—which recurs irregularly every 3-7 years or so—leads to major shifts in atmospheric circulation over the Pacific Ocean and subsequently has a profound effect upon global weather patterns. Under typical conditions, northeasterly and southeasterly “trade winds” meet one another (converge) near the Equator. These low-latitude winds exert a westward force on the ocean surface, pushing water toward the western part of the Pacific basin that eventually piles up near Indonesia. At the same time, this warm, westward-moving water at the ocean surface is replaced by much cooler water upwelling from deeper layers of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Peru.

El Niño schematic from NOAA/PMEL.

El Niño schematic from NOAA/PMEL.

For this reason, there is usually a west-to-east temperature variation in Pacific Ocean surface temperature (and consequently in the overlying atmosphere): warm in the west, cool in the east. Winds in the atmosphere are fundamentally driven by spatial variations in temperature, and in this instance the “warm west” and “cool east” pattern is self-reinforcing: it favors the continuation of east-to-west winds along the equator, which (in turn) help to maintain the pre-existing west-to-east temperature pattern. Occasionally, however, this pattern of prevailing east-to-west trade winds weakens dramatically or even reverses direction entirely. The scientific community still doesn’t know for sure why these trade wind disruptions occur in the first place, but it’s pretty likely that they occur at least somewhat at random. Regardless of the initial cause, however, weakened trade winds allow the warm water that piles up in the West Pacific during non-El Niño years to “slosh” back toward the east. As this occurs, the usual west-to-east atmospheric temperature difference is reduced, and a new self-reinforcing feedback loop is initiated: easterly winds weaken further, allowing warm water to move even further east, and eventually shutting off the cold water upwelling near the Peruvian coast. Once this occurs, a full-fledged El Niño event is underway, and in most cases will continue until the warm water “reservoir” in the West Pacific has depleted itself (which typically takes 6-12 months).

How can El Niño affect weather outside of the tropics?

In an average year, powerful tropical thunderstorms occur rather frequently over the West Pacific as warm, moist tropical air converges in the lower atmosphere and is forced to rise. As this rising air cools, water vapor condenses in the upper atmosphere and releases latent heat into the surrounding air. This upper-atmospheric heating causes waves to develop in the high-velocity river of air known as the jet stream, which tend to propagate northward and eastward from the tropical West Pacific all the way to the extratropical North Pacific—a phenomenon known as the “Atmospheric Bridge.” Upper-atmospheric waves such as these are responsible for most of the day-to-day variations in weather we experience in the middle latitudes.

"Atmospheric Bridge" schematic from Wikimedia Commons.

“Atmospheric Bridge” schematic from Wikimedia Commons.

Further to the east, however—over the central and eastern Pacific—the relatively cool ocean (and lower atmospheric) temperatures tend to inhibit the development of these “heat pumping” thunderstorms. This means that there is typically little in the way of upper-atmosphere heating in this region, and therefore upper-atmospheric waves tend not to be generated there. During an El Niño event, however, the region of warm and unstable air shifts substantially eastward over the Pacific basin, and tropical thunderstorms occur much further to the east over the Central and even East Pacific. As a result, tropical upper-atmospheric heating occurs at a very different longitude, and the north and eastward-traveling waves in the jet stream can affect different parts of North America. Depending on the details, these shifts in the jet stream can result in major changes in temperature and precipitation patterns over the western United States and beyond—comprising the so-called geographically remote El Niño “teleconnections.”

What are the effects of El Niño in California?

As it turns out, this is a surprisingly difficult question to answer. The complexity of the answer stems largely from the fact that El Niño of similar intensity can exhibit very different spatial patterns of sea surface temperature anomalies and therefore result in drastically different atmospheric teleconnections around the world. For California specifically, one of the most important factors in characterizing the likely effects a particular El Niño event (or whether a well-defined set of impacts even exists) is the longitude at which the maximum ocean warming occurs. In general, however, El Niño impacts in California become larger and more predictable for events in which the ocean warming is centered in the far East Pacific. A key point to remember, though, is that El Niño does not guarantee a wet winter in California. In fact, there’s even some indication that certain Central Pacific El Niño events may even lead to drier-than-average winters. For illustrative purposes, however, and because there is evidence that we’re currently headed for an East Pacific-centered event, I’ve included the below narrative describing the impacts of a hypothetical, well-defined East Pacific El Niño event. This scenario represents my own informal distillation of numerous scientific papers focus on the topic, though unfortunately the figures from nearly all of these are unavailable for general reproduction on a blog such as this one (but that’s a discussion for another day).

Possible impacts of a hypothetical strong, East Pacific-centered El Niño event

Note: this is not a specific prediction for 2014-2015!

Warm season (summer/fall):

Warm local sea surface temperatures along the immediate coastline of western North America may be associated with above-average atmospheric temperatures in California during canonical East Pacific El Niño event. This mechanism of warming would preferentially warm overnight temperatures and temperatures near the coast, and would not necessarily be associated with increased incidence of heat waves or extreme high daytime temperatures. However, it may make those heat waves that do occur more uncomfortable due to increased humidity in the lower atmosphere and decreased overnight cooling. Another secondary (but potentially important) warm season effect of a strong East Pacific-centered El Niño is an increase in the number, intensity, and geographic range of tropical eastern Pacific tropical cyclones (hurricanes). These types of storms—which are fueled by very warm ocean temperatures—cannot develop anywhere near California (even in strong El Niño years) due to the presence of the rather frigid California Current. However, hurricanes that develop off the west coast of Mexico can become quite powerful, and if upper-level wind patterns are favorable one of these storms can occasionally take a northward or even northeastward track toward California as it (rapidly) weakens over cooler waters.

Hurricane Linda made an unusually close approach to California in Sep. 1997 (via NASA).

Hurricane Linda made an unusually close approach to California in Sep. 1997 (via NASA).

It would be exceptionally unlikely for an organized tropical system of any strength to make landfall in California (though it’s not impossible). On the other hand, there have been quite a number of instances when the remnants of an East Pacific hurricane brought unusual warm-season precipitation to some portion of California. During a strong East Pacific El Niño event, sea surface temperatures off the west coast of Mexico are much above average, which increases the potential for such an event to occur. The probability of this happening would be highest during the late summer and early fall.

Cool season (winter/spring):

A strong East Pacific El Niño event would likely strengthen the subtropical branch of the jet stream just west of California during the canonical wet season. This would direct the storm track squarely into Central and Southern California, most likely leading to above-normal precipitation in these regions (and perhaps in far Northern California, as well). In addition, the occurrence of individual high-intensity storms and rainfall events would probably be higher than during a typical winter due to the proximity of the storm track to California. Thus, the risk of flooding may be higher during such an El Niño event, especially in Southern California.

Cool-season impacts of El Niño (via NOAA).

Cool-season impacts of El Niño (via NOAA).

Cool-season temperatures are a bit tricky, as the enhanced cloudiness associated with active storm track would allow for less solar heating to occur during a typical winter, leading to cool temperatures on most days. On the other hand, strong west-to-east flow would might act to inhibit the occurrence of cold air outbreaks associated with a high-amplitude, north-south oriented jet stream—making frost/freeze events less likely. Thus, winter temperatures may be near average overall (but with fewer very cold days).

Current state of the equatorial Pacific Ocean

Over the past several months, the Pacific Ocean has transitioned rather dramatically toward an El Niño state. An powerful oceanic Kelvin wave—the strongest since a similar event in 1997 which preceded the very strong 1997-1998 El Niño event—made its way eastward across the Pacific Ocean during March and April and has now surfaced in the far East Pacific west of Peru and Ecuador. Sea surface temperature anomalies have increased rapidly in this region over the past two weeks, with warm anomalies now extending across the entire equatorial Pacific. The current spatial pattern, temporal evolution, and magnitude of sea surface temperature anomalies greatly resembles that which occurred in 1997. The overall volume of warm water associated with the current event in the Pacific actually exceeds that during the 1997-1998 event by a considerable margin. Additionally, the atmosphere has apparently started to respond to the recent surface ocean warming, with easterly trade winds continuing to weaken across most of the Pacific basin. There is evidence that a new Kelvin wave may be forming in the West Pacific, which (if true) would make further warming in the East Pacific essentially inevitable by mid-summer.

Present sea surface height anomalies are similar in magnitude to those in 1997, but with greater aerial extent. (NASA)

Present sea surface height anomalies are similar in magnitude to those in 1997, but with greater aerial extent. (NASA)

The forecast: El Niño very likely; strong event possible

Recent observations certainly point toward the continued evolution toward an El Niño state (and very recent observations suggest that we’re nearly there already). Numerical ocean-atmosphere models—which are used to make predictions regarding the state of El Niño months in advance—are nearly unanimous in projecting the development of full-fledged El Niño conditions by late summer or early fall 2014.

Recent model forecasts suggest the emergence of El Nino conditions this summer. (IRI)

Recent model forecasts suggest the emergence of El Nino conditions this summer. (IRI)

Many of these models depict a pattern of sea surface anomalies suggestive of an East Pacific-centered El Niño event. Based on the available observational evidence and current model forecasts, it seems exceedingly likely that El Niño conditions will officially be declared later this summer. The magnitude and spatial character of the present ocean temperature anomalies suggest that a strong El Niño event remains possible this year, and additionally may be an East Pacific-centered event. A stronger statement—especially regarding possible impacts in California—would be unwise at this point, since we’ve yet to emerge from the infamous “Spring Predictability Barrier” that severely limits the accuracy of El Niño forecasts prior to the early summer months. I’ll be following this event closely on the California Weather Blog as it develops over the coming months. Stay tuned!

© 2014 WEATHER WEST

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  • Xerophobe

    Thanks Dan, Great information, again!

  • Jeff Red Berry

    “canonical” look at you go. Excellent as always.

  • Tornado Tim

    You are a Weather Wizard … great info …. looking so forward to the memorable California 2014/15 winter snow & rain deluge!!!

  • alanstorm

    Aaah, I see now. That explains those 2 epic rain & catastrophic flood events for Nor Cal in Dec ’55 & ’64, both LA Nina years. Like you said, El Nino strengthens the subtropical jet & can block Arctic air outbreaks. Those 2 events were enhanced by Arctic air masses dropping down & colliding with atmospheric rivers pointed at Nor Ca. Let’s hope those El Nino warm storms make it far north this winter!

    • Loyal Brooks

      The combination of atmospheric rivers flowing onto the west coast when being steered by (interacting with) the cold northern branch of the jet stream is quite a cocktail of serious dynamics mixed with perhaps overly-abundant moisture to work with. Severe flooding would be a logical outcome for many of those special and unique cases!!

      Those two years you cited, alanstorm were incredible indeed….

  • Zepp

    Here in the far northern part of California, we’re watching all this anxiously. Best case scenario: summer tempered by higher humidity, reducing the risk of wildfire and other drought-related damage. This followed by a very wet, hopefully very snowy winter, desperately needed by everyone in the state. Worst-case scenario: pulse of subtropical moisture breed thousands of dry lightning strikes, setting hundreds of fires in the summer, and in the winter, all our badly-needed moisture streams south of us. Unfortunately, this is an inverse bell-shaped curve; probabilities favour one extreme or the other.

    • Loyal Brooks

      In the far northern part of CA (I believe you are near Mt. Shasta), the “problematic” issue there is the dry, descending air from the offshore high pressure system that sets up each and every summer (with or without any El Nino developing or maturing). The descending air always inhibits convective activity, thereby further suppressing shower activity that far north.

      However, with deep layers of moisture creeping northward from the warming tropical E Pacific ocean, any convective rainfall will first be observed at high elevations, and any areas not doused by heavy rainfall will be subject to being burned by lightning strikes. This process of summer wildfires has been going on for tens of thousands of years, and many plant species are so adapted to it, they would not be able to reproduce if it did not occur. Without wildfires, seed banks accumulated in the soil of adapted plants would not have to be opportunity to be released back into the complex floral community. There are several reasons for this. Here is a link for further information on this subject:http: http://www.werc.usgs.gov/OLDsitedata/seki/pdfs/regeneration.pdf

      The scenario you offered, where the best rains (and snows) would slide on to the south, while the north just got the fire end of the stick seems horrific for those living there, but it too is a natural process that in the long run works itself out.

      • Zepp

        I’m very aware of the role of fire in our bioregion, and agree that it’s necessary. However, that does not mean I am sanguine about being burned out.

        One way we’re lucky; they build a network of streets upwind from us back in 2007, and then the housing market collapsed, and only a few homes got built. The result is that we have a very expensive but quite efficient fire break on our windward side.

        • Loyal Brooks

          Zepp – I do realize that you know about the need for fire in your bioregion, but perhaps someone else reading this blog may not realize the intense importance of it….

          You are fortunate you have had building patterns that favor you. That is a HUGE problem in CA as a whole. People want to live in beautiful areas that are MEANT to burn – so when they do so, they end up losing so much when the time comes for a fire to sweep through.

          • Zepp

            It’s a real problem in California. Especially since people will then proceed to surround themselves with manzanita and eucalyptus, which as I’m sure you know go off like bottle rockets when they ignite.

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  • politik

    Enlightening as usual and with a forecaster’s inevitable disclaimer. After a recent trip to the Big Isle and a family condo purchase there, I’ve turned my attention to a discussion of the Trades and specific micro-climes there. I’ve been reading a 1995 volume to find the fairly well-substantiated claim that an early-onset El Nino, like the one in progress, tends to cause substantially less winter rainfall in the islands. The stated mechanism is the southern displacement of the Hadley cell placing that latitude in more of the Hadley sinking air region. Anymore research on that aspect?

    • Loyal Brooks

      While searching for specific research on the topic you requested is hard to come by, it appears that the diagram above of “atmospheric bridging” plays a very significant role in what you are speaking of. This diagram illustrates that more heat is transferred from equatorial waters of the eastern Pacific towards the larger and deeper Aleutian low in the Boreal winter, and could only act to inhibit the strength (overall – not day by day) of the Hadley cell, which, of course, is responsible for the steady trade winds bringing rains to the windward side of the islands. In this scenario, it seems more likely that the Hadley circulation is weakened more than displaced to the south, though it seems that both of these aspects are at play, and both would play a role in decreasing rainfall from the trades during the winter months.

      Separate from this wintertime flow of atmospheric energy northward, there is always a greater chance of hurricane development in the waters to the south and east of the islands during the late summer months during a developing El Nino. While infrequent, there is an increased chance of hurricanes developing in the Pacific and moving westward (full strength) south of Hawaii, with an increased chance of Hawaii getting hit, bringing copious rains to the islands on all sides of the islands. While rare, this can and does occasionally happen.

  • Utrex

    Excellent article. Newest IRI/CPC Enso model is being released very soon.

  • craig matthews

    Well done Mr. Swain. You really hit a note when you talked about warm summer nights(in regards to El Nino). The summer of 1997 featured some very warm nighttime lows for those of us that live in central coastal California. Even when we had a thick marine layer, our nighttime lows were in the mid 60’s and highs in the mid 70’s, in which typically our lows are in the low 50’s, and highs in the mid 60’s on the immediate central coast. Buoy 42, 10 miles out of Monterey bay recorded ocean temp of 68 degrees in August. This may seam cool for those down south. But that’s 10 degrees above normal for this area. Also, in the summer of ’97, there was a real lack of northwest winds down the coast, which typically bring upwelling of cooler waters to the immediate coastline(as you know). These conditions may occur again this summer for those of us that live right on the coastline. But as you go inland, that’s a different story. This is the land of microclimates, where I live.

  • Dreamer

    Will there be less difference between the coast and inland due to the warming of the Eastern Pacific during the summer months? I know in how it can sometimes be 70 in Santa Monica and 100 in the San Fernando Valley. Will the differences be equalized?

  • http://yourlivingbody.com/ Your Living Body

    Sure am wishing we got more rain this year down here in San Diego. Fires in May fueled by Santa Ana winds usually seen in October/November. Hope this El Niño shapes up…

  • Guest

    California’s thirst for groundwater triggers earthquakes, lifts mountains, study suggests

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2014/05/15/fcc-approves-plan-to-allow-for-paid-priority-on-internet/

  • lightning10

    California’s thirst for groundwater triggers earthquakes, lifts mountains, study suggests

    http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/05/15/california-thirst-triggers-earthquakes-lifts-mountains/

  • Mike Stephenson

    I understand there will be much more available moisture this summer, but can anyone speculate on a strong El Niño’s influence on the “four corners high” placement? ( and I do understand this is just speculation ) I remember seeing high-based thunderstorms one morning a few years back over towards la from the corona airport one morning, I’ll have to find the pic, it was amazing

  • craig matthews

    So, in the automns of 1982 and 1997(strongest El Nino years on record), we had an epic acorn crop from the local oak trees(coast live oaks, tan oaks, valley oaks, and canyon live oaks). So many acorns fell on my driveway, it was almost impossible to walk without a slip. It was like walking on marbles. Being that collecting native seeds is part of my business, I remember that very well. What’s the connection to banner acorn crops to El Nino? Or is that just plain coincidence? That’s a strange one to me. Any thoughts? Now this spring, even with lack of rain, our local oak trees pollinated big time. I don’t know if there will be enough groundwater later this year to support acorn growth. This is a little off subject, sorry, but any comments or thoughts might shed some light on this strange occurrence.

    • Cliff Collipriest

      Interesting. Our oak trees have not produced acorns the last 2 years and no flowering this year.

      • craig matthews

        It must be a localized coincidence. In general, our local oak trees tend to produce acorns every other year, or every 2 years. But in particular to 1982 and 1997, there were an enormous amount of acorns on all the trees. And I was wondering if somehow there was a connection to developing strong El Nino conditions in those two instances, where somehow there was a precursor in the weather pattern that made favorable conditions for a banner acorn crop. But too much involved to even go there. And the science involved in that type of thinking would be over my head anyway. Probably no relation, just skepticism on my part. Thanks for responding all the same.

    • Xerophobe

      I’ve checked into that as I’ve wondered the same but it all has to do with the spring conditions for pollination. Last year (2013) was a bumper crop in my area. ironically with the late rains we did get, many sprouted.

    • Loyal Brooks

      Very good question! And you are in great luck – the most intensively studied oaks in California (with regard to acorn production – or “mast seeding”) are along the Central CA coast, especially in Monterey County, so answers to your question abound, but there are some unresolved issues that still need further study. Much work has already been done, and excellent information on this issue is available.

      What has been discovered is that the weather conditions of the prior April (when acorn pollination occurs) is the most important factor for heavy mast years. Wet or dry years did not seem to affect the outcome as much as weather conditions in the previous April – meaning that were there many calm days where the acorns were able to be pollinated. Wetness or dryness of the year was seen to affect the outcome somewhat, but not nearly as much as the month of April!

      Another interesting fact discovered was that so many CA oaks behave in a synchronous way, meaning most oaks do this in the same year. There is some issue with some oaks needing 2 years to produce acorns, so in those cases, you would need to examine pollination conditions 2 prior Aprils ago. Those are among the central coast oaks, but are not among those you mentioned.

      For further information, please visit
      http://californiaagriculture.ucanr.edu/landingpage.cfm?article=ca.v049n05p7&fulltext=yes

      • craig matthews

        Thank you Loyal. That makes a lot of sense to me and you really helped me out in my research. In fact, there were many calm, sunny and warm days in the April prior to mast production of acorns in those years I mentioned, especially in ’97, as well as other years when we have had a lot of acorns. I have not researched the Aprils 2 years prior though, but I am interested to look into that data. This year, I noticed a lot of pollen that developed particularly in the coast live oaks south of big sur. It will be interesting to see what kind of production there will be with such record low water tables. However, oak trees are like camels. Even with lack of winter rains, they can grow just the same as they do in wet years.

      • Kamau40

        Great response to Craig’s question above regarding acorns/climate.

        • craig matthews

          Yes I agree. The question regarding acorns and El Nino really had more to do with precursor weather patterns during the spring prior to strong El Nino that make favorable conditions for a banner acorn crop. The site Loyal gave really helped me understand the pollination process and how weather in April(when pollination occurs in oaks where I live) can affect the pollination process and acorn production a year even two years down the road. If you have read that article Loyal gave, you will see in those figures they produce that there really doesn’t seam to be any noticeable link from banner acorn production to strong El Nino events. Basically, my question was answered in a very good way. And thanks once again Loyal, and Kamau40 for helping me out. That was very solid and sound information.

    • Kamau40

      There is no data or facts to suggest there is a relationship between banner acorn years and El Nino patterns. For example, last year we had a ton of acorns on the ground during the Fall, but look what happened to this year’s rainy season. I think Loyal below gave the best response to that question.

  • Utrex

    Mid-may IRI/CPC plume prediction model released today: http://iri.columbia.edu/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/figure4.gif

    • Loyal Brooks

      What somewhat concerns me about the above ENSO model predictions is that the region of the Pacific of greatest concern (Nino 3.4) shows a serious cooling beginning in November – with a continuing thermal decline as the winter season wears on.

      The weaker the El Nino during the winter months produces much less confidence in actually experiencing a wet winter in CA.

      The main caveat in these models can’t really have a handle yet on the actual development, as we have not reached the so-called “spring barrier,” which effectively reduces the reliability of the model predictions at this point in the game..

      • Xerophobe

        Me, too. Seems to be peaking in late OND and the NDJ would be the sweet spot, yet only 1 to 1.5 positive?

      • Kamau40

        Loyal-

        Great to hear from you again. I have sent a great video link just a few days ago of Jan Null, a veteran meteorologist, who understands everything about El Nino/La Nina patterns and how they work based on truth, data, and very sound reasoning. Here are my quotes and the links:
        “Great video and advice about upcoming El Nino from our Bay Area’s own Jan Null who knows a lot about El Nino/La Nina events. Even Daniel Swain is quoted in the article on this link. Great job Dan. While the odds are increasing that we will have a strong event and that we will have a wet winter next year is still not a guarantee. Even if we do end up having an epic year next year, our precipitation deficits are so large that it will take at least a couple good wet solid years to get us back to where we should be. These are based on actual facts, statistics, and historical data instead of people’s stated opinions and or assumptions. For those who care about truth, I also linked up Jan Null’s website which I have been following for years which has excellent data and historical facts about El Nino/La Nina events which I highly recommend to use as a very valuable resource library for weather/climate.”

        http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2014/05/09/chances-of-el-nino-increasing-effect-on-california-drought-debatable/

        • Loyal Brooks

          Yeah… I feel very removed from the equatorial Pacific way out here in the Upper Midwest… as I head out the door for work, there are areas of scattered frost outside. Yesterday was in the upper 40s and windy all day – coat weather. It makes all of the heat and drought very abstract to me – and what I viscerally experience on a daily basis.

          Thanks for the references… will check them out when I get back…

  • Xerophobe

    I’m kinda wondering if more WWB’s are on the horizon??

    • Utrex

      With a possible KW emerging I’d say yes.

  • Xerophobe

    Here’s some more info on the 97-98 Event…be sure to click on the hyper-links to get graphs and what-not. Amazing to see the number and strength and concentration of WWB (fig.3) for 97-98 vs 2014. I know I am way outta my league with this stuff and what it means if anything relative to today but maybe some of you can make some sense and value of this..rather than just my OMGosh wow…statement.

    http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/papers/clivar98_Santiago/

  • lightning10

    Does anyone els think that the El Nino this season could bring that mega cold storm in November this year? El Nino years tend to bring one good storm storm down the pipe. I think it could be some real fun.

    • craig matthews

      In 1972, we had a strong El Nino where Nino 3.4 index went over +2C in the 1972-73 season. And, in early December of 1972, a very cold low dropped down out of Canada and produced not only some of our coldest temps ever recorded in Northern California, but also snow down to sea level in various places. Not only that, but many locations in the upper foothills of the sierra around 3000 feet experienced several feet of snow in December and January 1972-73. You can check NCDC archives for snow amounts for years past in areas like Quincy California or Nevada City California, and check out their snowfall records for 1972 to verify what I am saying. So to sum up this long and dragged out response to your question….Yes…In regards to “that mega cold storm happening in November this year. It could happen again.

  • Dreamer

    NOAA has released seasonal outlooks for the fall and winter. Looks like the long long range precipitation forecasts now reflect the upcoming El Nino :).

    • snow755

      can you post a link two that plzs

    • craig matthews

      http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/predictions/90day/fxus05.html
      This is the latest discussion format for seasonal outlook but I think it links into the long lead forecast as well. So right now they are predicting just extreme socal getting above average precipitation and the rest of California in the “equal chances” category for the 2014-15 winter.

      • Kamau40

        Remember, it is too early to tell what the weather patterns will be like that far out. I would say the CPC forecast will be much more accurate in about 3-4 months or so winter 2014-15. In fact, I’m not even paying attention to the models right now until we get closer to next winter which is exactly what I did during the last major event.

        • craig matthews

          I agree. Springtime Barrier! But that is what CPC is predicting right now. I’m sure they will change their minds next month. I was just posting that link for people to read.

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  • craig matthews

    Bring it on! Quite a remarkable climb in ssts off the coast of Peru.

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

    As new observations continue to come in each day, it really does appear the system is primed for a big event. The real question at this point is whether or not the ocean gets a few more “shoves” from the atmosphere in the form of westerly wind bursts. If that happens, I think it’s quite likely we’ll see a quick transition to a strong El Nino event with a well-coupled atmosphere.

    If those WWBs don’t materialize, though, it’s still possible that this event doesn’t reach its very substantial potential and remains at a more moderate strength, and the much-discussed California teleconnections would be much weaker in that case. We still have a good 2-3 months or so for the atmosphere to stir up some strong WWBs, and it seems likely that it’ll happen eventually this summer (the CFS show this probability increasing by the end of May).

  • Kamau40

    My friend, Howard Schectner, gave an update to his audience this morning about the current status of the PDO, his view of what the Summer will look like along the Pacific coast due the developing El Nino pattern and he quoted Dan(Weather West) from his blog on May 5 about the new developing oceanic Kelvin Wave out of the W.Pac. and possibly a 3rd by mid summer.
    http://mammothweather.com/

  • lightning10

    I wonder if this warm weather can cause the temps off the ocean in the short term to rise off the coast? I took place before in the 2006 July heatwave. I wonder if its still to early in the season for that to take place.

    • http://yourlivingbody.com/ Your Living Body

      Water temps this morning off the coast of San Diego were about 65 degrees. Warmed up to around 69-70 by the afternoon and 95 degree air temps. We’re going to get some onshore flow starting Sunday and that will bring the water temps back down again.

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

        These early-season heat waves and offshore flow have really warmed local SSTs over the past month.

  • 60blue

    I have enjoyed reading this discussion for the past several months. I have to admit that most of it goes over my head. If we are going to have an El Niño this year what does that mean for the summer?

    • tomocean

      I’m no meteorologist, but based upon what I’ve read, it can mean warmer minimum temperatures and more humidity as we get the remnants of more frequent tropical storms forming to the south. Theoretically, this would increase the chance of a rare Summer thunderstorm at lower elevations as these same tropical systems may drift far enough north to affect us. Unfortunately, it will do little to alleviate the drought situation.

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

      This very topic is covered in the post above! :)

  • craig matthews

    Still trying to learn how to post pictures here. But to me it looks like there is more convection occurring off the coast of Mexico, with one blob looking to be a little more organized. CPC’s MJO report suggest a favorable environment for tropical development in the next 2 weeks in the eastern pacific. Bears watching.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      This is the very beginning of hurricane season for the Eastern Pacific, so it wouldn’t be out of the question for something to form down there soon.

      • craig matthews

        As far as satellite “appearance” is concerned(in regards to convective clouds along the equator), to me, it doesn’t appear that convection placement is too out of the ordinary along the equatorial pacific in this picture. However, if in fact El Nino develops soon and becomes a strong one, I’d expect to see a lot more large areas of convection firing up east of the dateline along the equatorial pacific extending into the eastern equatorial pacific at times later this summer.

  • alanstorm

    Well the grasses are browning out REALLY quick here in Mendocino County, not a good sign. The RRR is still the big story: an historic catostrophic, Ca weather event. It’s effects are going to get worse. 18% snowpack hard to believe. What’s to guarantee it won’t return again next January, right on schedule?

    • Utrex

      Chances are the El Nino will kill it.

      • Dogwood

        I have that hope too, but thru what mechanics, I wonder aloud, and to anyone with more science than I.
        What needs to happen to flip the orange pool off AK and BC over to nice cool blue, illustrated above in the 5/2/97-5/2/14 pacific graphic?
        I don’t know any better, but that is still hinting itself as RRR breeding ground. That and a warmer Caribbean are the two big differences I see between the NASA snapshots.

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

          The RRR “breeding ground” actually appears to be the tropical West Pacific, with some local reinforcement through extratropical SST feedbacks. Thus, hopefully the change in ENSO state will change the forcing regime enough to kill off the RRR even if we don’t get a super powerful El Nino event. But there are no guarantees, of course.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            Could the RRR be a pattern that has a tendency to set up when we are in a -PDO, +AMO, weak ENSO or ENSO neutral setup like we have been the last 2-3 seasons? This combination took place in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s with a couple of record-dry winters in Socal and I believe San Francisco had a very dry year in 1958-59, when it was incredibly dry in Socal.

          • Kamau40

            Dan(the weather man), great question. Based on my research on the global tele-connection and precipitation patterns from historical records, I confirm the same results above which is what I learned from you which makes a lot of sense from a climate and weather perspective.

  • Pingback: California Weather Blog: Record-breaking May heat and extreme fire weather conditions prevails; Ridiculously Resilient Ridge Returns? and an El Niño update » MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK | MAVEN'S NOTEBOOK()

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

    Risk of dry lightning in parts of NorCal on Tuesday. In mid-May. With record-dry fuels. Wow.

    • Kamau40

      Dan, I just read that too on the weather forecast for Nor Cal for early next week due to an approaching low pressure system. Yikes that is something needs to be watched carefully.

    • craig matthews

      Seams like 2008 all over again. I can’t believe I am hearing this so soon!

    • Dreamer

      No rain to accompany the thunderstorms?

  • craig matthews

    So in Eric Blake’s comment on the right hand side of the post above in regards to a comparison of 1997 to current conditions in the tropical pacific, it is noted that in May of 1997, ocean temps in the Indian Ocean and around the Maritime Continent were much cooler then now. And also ocean temps in the southeast pacific off south America were much warmer then now. Don’t know how this will affect the current developing El Nino, but its something worth noting.

  • Severe Wx
    • Severe Wx

      The ocean subsurface is clearly screaming El Nino. The atmosphere on the other hand is starting to have second thoughts. This doesn’t bode well for our El Nino. Without the continued reinforcement of the atmosphere, our record breaking Kelvin wave can only take the El Nino so far.

      • craig matthews

        This is a very critical period of time where both ocean and atmospheric forcings need to line up just right, and at the right timing as well, to keep this El NIno moving forward. There is a good chance that a new kelvin wave is beginning to develop right now, but its a wait and see mode right now.

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

      I’m not sure I’d call that a plunge–if we look at weekly averages, things are still trending upward. In any case, we really do need to see another major WWB or two to kick this event into high gear. We still have a couple of months for this to occur, and there’s still a tremendous volume of warm water out there. Time will tell.

  • lightning10

    So Cal could get a shower or thunderstorm it looks like on Tuesday.

    • thomas sheridan

      You know this? How? Link, please?

    • FaithIsGlorifiedDelusion

      No.

  • craig matthews

    Low center is expected to track right over S.F and Monterey bay Monday night/Tuesday morning. Too bad its not taking this track in the afternoon during peak solar heating. In any case, there might be just enough cold air aloft rotating around over the ocean waters to lift whatever low level moisture is made available to cause some instability shower development for those of us that live on the central coastline. But is sure looks like the Diablo Range will get some thunderstorms Tuesday afternoon. I think these thunderstorms will produce isolated heavy downpours despite what they are saying. But the real problem is that the lightning might touch down outside of the rain shaft, and that’s where the “dry lightning” factor comes into play. And with the grass cured and fuel moisture so low, this could be a bad situation here.

    • Dreamer

      Dry and lightning should not be allowed to exist in the same sentence. I love a good thunderstorm but they should always accompanied by downpours.

  • Bandini

    Supposed to rain pretty good here in the Sierra (Truckee) Monday night – Wednesday with snow levels between 7-8500. Unfortunately my driver side window is refusing to roll up so I just sealed it off, but still looking forward to possible thunder storms and flakes. Could be a chilly drive over Brockway summit in the mornings, hoping to see some high elevation accumulation.

  • Zepp

    We had some pretty substantial showers (~.15 inch) this afternoon, and no thunder and lightning, I’m happy to report. Hoping for more rain tomorrow!

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

    Thunderstorms pretty likely next 48 hours in Sierra and Coastal Mountains; isolated storms possible in the Sac Valley, Bay Area, and perhaps even SoCal. Outside of the mountains, most people won’t see anything notable, but a slight risk does exist for most areas as steep lapse rates are in place.

  • lightning10

    Just as I had throught that when you have a low this strong and temps this cool you could get a chance of T-storms over the valleys and foothills of So Cal. That looks like it could be the case.

    AY EXPECT TO SEE TEMPERATURES SLOWLY DECREASE DUE TO VARYING
    AMOUNTS OF CLOUDS AND A SLIGHT CHANCE OF RAIN SHOWERS FOCUSED ON THE
    HIGHER ELEVATIONS. WE WILL NEED TO KEEP AN EYE ON THE POTENTIAL FOR
    CONVECTION WEDNESDAY AND THURSDAY AFTERNOONS FORMING OVER THE
    SOUTHERN SIERRAS AND ACROSS THE SAN GABRIEL MOUNTAINS. INSTABILITY
    PARAMETERS ARE INDICATING 33 DEGREE K-INDEX…NEGATIVE LIFTED
    INDEX…AND UP TO 500 J/KG CAPE FOR THE MOUNTAINS. IF CELLS DEVELOP
    STEERING WINDS OUT OF THE NORTH-NORTHWEST COULD PUSH ACTIVITY INTO
    THE LOS ANGELES COUNTY VALLEYS OR FARTHER SOUTHWARD IF THEY CAN
    MAINTAIN THEIR STRENGTH.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      I hope we get a bit of rain this week. There is a 20% chance of showers for Orange County tonight and tomorrow and for the mountains from tonight until Friday. The latest AFD from San Diego indicated there could be a chance of a few t-storms, but they weren’t included in the forecast just yet.

  • craig matthews

    Wow! Looks like an active day off the Yolla Bolla Mountains, and eventually northern Sac Valley. Man I wish I could be underneath one of those cells. Just boring weather down where I live.

  • Zepp

    Some thunder here, but fortunately things are still damp from yesterday’s rain. A few drops now.

  • ElCaminoReal

    Pleasant drizzle last night in Palo Alto, starting around 10 PM. The car windshield was wet in the morning. These are small things, but appreciated.

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

    Latest CFS estimates shift dramatically upward once again:

    • Xerophobe

      This forecast seems to have more forecasts for over +2 with the ensemble mean being nudged ever so slightly upward in the mid-November time frame.

    • craig matthews

      Seams like almost all of the forecast members of CFSv2 are showing ssts in Nino 3.4 region leveling off or even cooling a little bit going into mid summer, but then they show a big increase in ssts in late summer going into fall. If I am reading that chart right. I am wondering why the models show this fluctuation? Could that be because the forecast members are picking up on potential WWB’s/Kelvin Waves for the summer that might kick the El Nino into high gear next fall?

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

        Might be an initial conditions issue–it’s possible that the model’s trying to adjust to ingested observations that aren’t quite in synch with the atmospheric state. The new CFS runs are suggesting a series of large WWBs beginning in mid-June and continuing into at least July.

        • craig matthews

          I hope we get that series of large WWB’s, because it sure seams like that would really kick start this El Nino.

    • Cliff Collipriest

      I understand that El Nino years are usually followed by La Nina or neutral years. With the oceans warming up, would the odds of 2 consecutive El Nino years increase?

  • Kamau40

    I know that it is still too early to get excited, but the CFS is also starting to show the precipitation anomalies to be above average starting in Sep. Notice especially though going into from Oct-Dec ’14 time frame the above avg precipitation anomalies(reflected in lots of green/blues) starts to ramp up from Ca thru the So. Eastern portions of the United States and below avg precipitation occurring in the Pacific Northwest. If this verifies, it will represent the start of the El Nino pattern at that time.

    http://origin.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/people/wwang/cfsv2fcst/htmls/usPrece3Sea.html

    • craig matthews

      Wouldn’t this be nice. A very wet late summer all the way into winter for California according to CFS. The CFS even goes as far as showing a wet August, especially in socal. Must be due to surges of tropical moisture coming up from the south that tend to happen in these stronger El Nino events.

      • Kamau40

        Absolutely!!!! It is still of course very early to be overly excited about the CFS projections at this point; Nevertheless, I’m very optimistic based on both the present conditions of the global tele-connections and future projections of the very strong ENSO signals. Based on what I see thus far, it is a very good sign the imminent developing El Nino pattern will eventually become quite strong by late Fall. Yes, I would not be surprised that Ca could start seeing some convective activity from dying tropical systems as early as Aug, but they won’t yet have any significant impact on our current drought situation. I pray that the very wet weather conditions down the road will come to reality.

        • craig matthews

          The fact that we have observed such a drastic change in atmosphere/oceanic conditions along the equatorial pacific since January, seams like should cause a change to the persistent weather pattern we have been observing across the north pacific basin and North America, especially going into next fall and winter. If in fact this El Nino becomes strong, it will be interesting to see how the flow pattern across the North pacific basin re adjusts to major changes that have taken place in the tropical region, where warmer waters are displaced into the eastern pacific as well as atmospheric conditions, like large areas of convection are displaced further east then normal across the tropics. But the real question how this will affect the pacific jet next winter, and where will the pacific jet take aim along the west coast. The “chances” are much greater that the pacific jet will take aim at central and socal next winter. But as it has been said so many times, no guarantees!

          • Kamau40

            Exactly! In addition, as I said many times and so has others on this blog, we have to be careful about being overly excited about having a wet Fall/Winter later in the year. If El Nino indeed become very strong as current projections have been indicating, it will be the dominate influence of the weather patterns on a global scale. But, we have to keep in mind there will be other factors involved too that will have an impact on our weather. We really just have to wait and see and hope and pray the long term CFS model projections of the strong precipitation anomalies for the state will become true.

        • Dreamer

          Some widespread August or September rain might not put a dent in the drought, but it would be very helpful in ending the fire season early.

  • darrenking

    Enjoying some late season showers this evening in Folsom. Nothing like that fresh, recent rain scent coming through the windows.

  • Bandini

    Rain all day in Truckee. Back at my place, 6300 ft was some pretty decent snow. Good to see a nice soaking storm, every bit helps I guess. Trail between 7-8k was actually dumping this afternoon, I’d say 3-4 inches of snow easy. I suspect the higher spots saw 6 plus.

  • craig matthews

    Seams like we are in a little more typical spring like pattern right now where I live, which is cool moist nw flow off the ocean and a low cloud deck with occasional drizzle. But now I hear we might get another warm dry spell, but not so hot and windy as the last 2 events. Can’t believe how fast the grass dried out here. Went from spring to summer in a few days.

  • so.cal.storm.lover

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/day2otlk.html

    NOAA convective outlooks suggest thunderstorms across so cal tomorrow!

  • Xerophobe

    Here’s a list of articles from NASA/JPL regarding El Nino. One article mentioned Ocean Heat Content and WWB. I think the jist of one of the articles was if the OHC anomaly was high and there were WWB’s, the probability of a ‘strong’ (my word) El Nino in the E. Pacific was greater than if there were WWB’s with the OHC anomaly being neutral or ‘cold”. Here is link and latest OHC from CPC El Nino update 3 days ago.

    http://trs-new.jpl.nasa.gov/dspace/simple-search?query=el+Nino&submit=Go

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

      At this point, it most likely comes down to westerly wind bursts: if we get at least 1-2 more strong WWBs over the next 1-2 months, we’ll probably get a strong El Nino event by late fall. If we don’t see these WWBs, we’ll likely be stuck in a weak-moderate state. I would estimate there’s a greater than 50% chance of seeing at least 2 large WWBs, so the risk of a strong El Nino event is >50% (which compares to categorical El Nino probabilities (any strength) of >80-90%).

  • Guest

    here is pic for post below

  • lightning10

    Looks like there might not be enough sun for Thunderstorms for the beaches and valleys today.

  • OnShoreFlow

    some good measurable precip up here in the LPNF…such a welcoming event…all wet thunderstorms thankfully.

  • lightning10

    Today wasn’t the first time the marine layer killed the thunderstorm chances and it wont be the last.

  • Little Timmy Limp Wrist.

    Just face it California is always Way too effing Hot and always too effing dry. It plain Sucks.

  • Dreamer

    Will Memorial Day Weekend mark the “Spring Barrier” that you talk about on here? It is, after all, the unofficial kick-off for summer.

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

      There’s no well-defined date, but ENSO projection skill does begin to increase in June.

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

        But at this point the outcome appears to be highly sensitive to the occurrence (or not) of westerly wind bursts, which are essentially random “weather” events that the long-term models are unlikely to get right more than a week or two in advance. We can see this when the CFS projections jump up and down (sometimes to high 2.5C+ levels) from day-to-day. What we’re seeing is the large effect of transient but intense westerly bursts–when the model sees a lot of them, Nino3.4 gets very warm since the ocean is primed to respond.

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  • jarrod1765

    Weather west, so we would have to see another strong Kelvin Wave, along with another round of WWB for this to be a strong El Nino event?

  • Bartshe

    Hi All, Great lecture from a couple days ago by Chris Smallcomb from the NWS Reno. He came down to present at the SNARL lecture series. “Extreme Weather and the Drought of 2013-2014” can catch it on VIMEO. Thanks go out to NWS and Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Lab for hosting this series.

    http://vimeo.com/96026056

    • Kamau40

      Excellent video presentation. It has been very much in line with everything that I have been saying on this blog for months. There are a lot of unknowns regarding the current drought and even when it comes to the developing El Nino pattern. Thanks for sharing.

  • craig matthews

    So, I can’t seam to upload the Satellite operational sst anomaly for the pacific ocean. But the last update 2 days ago showed continued warming of ssts off the coast of peru in the last 5 days. And these warmer ssts are beginning to spread south down the south American coastline. A continued step in the right direction for intensification of a full basin El Nino. I’m a little concerned about the lack of WWB’s lately, but atleast the trade winds are continuing to be weaker then average. Has anyone seen any sign of a WWB in the making?

    • Xerophobe

      Gosh, I’ve been waiting for you to announce a new one! I looked at Daniel’s tweet on May 21st, that there may be one in June.

      These must be hard to forecast. I’m going to stat adjusting the wind height to 850 hPa on animated globe. I’ve been looking too, at settings with ocean currents and SSTA and that’s kinda interesting to see the ocean currents in WP seem to be moving in streaks from W to E, and wiggling up and down the equator even though surface winds still appear very deliberate E to W.

      • craig matthews

        So I been told, we really don’t know for sure if a WWB will occur until it does occur. They are very difficult to forecast well in advance as there are so many things that need to line up just right for them to occur

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

          WWBs evolve on “weather” timescales, and so it’s hard to predict them more than a week or two in advance (since they tend to be associated either with tropical cyclones or synoptic-scale atmospheric waves).

      • craig matthews

        I think you are looking at the same “global winds” I am looking at, but I can’t seam to upload that page lately. But I have wondered about those currents in the WP moving in streaks from W to E as well, with the surface winds moving E to W over the top of them. I don’t know what to make of it. Also, I wonder about the weakened areas of trade winds moving from W to E. Maybe that’s associated with MJO activity, or possibly atmospheric kelvin waves. I don’t know enough about all of this to figure it out, thankfully we have Mr. Swain.

  • Dreamer

    Daily SOI is way positive AND the May Gray is in full force. If things don’t change in June, does that mean a weak Nino rather than the strong one?

    • David Thomas

      positive is good way good we could be looking at a vary wet and stormy winter come late SEP and going in two the fall now we this need a strong EL nino we all so need too watch and see where this EL nino set up shop

      • Dan the Weatherman

        Positive SOI over the long-term is indicative of a La Nina or La Nina conditions, not El Nino. To have a good El Nino, the SOI needs to trend negative and average negative for the most part throughout the summer until the winter. Even during El Nino, the SOI can fluctuate at times since it is a measure of the pressure difference between two locations (Darwin and Tahiti), so it can be positive at times even during an El Nino event. This is the reason why the longer-term trends of the SOI are more important than just the short-term.

  • Loyal Brooks

    To me, this is the most obnoxious time to be following the developing El Nino. We have about 30-60 days for 1 or 2 WWB for El Nino to make run for it and be strong. If there are no more WWB, the El Nino may just take a walk for it and be moderate, or worse (but far less likely), conditions may fall apart and there is no El Nino at all.

    The correlation between heavy rainfall in California increases with the strength of the ultimate El Nino development, and likewise decreases with its strength. A moderate El Nino is no reliable guide for a wet 2014-15.

    On the bright side, wet years in California don’t hang exclusively on strong El Ninos. Sometimes, they occur when they occur.

    P.S. Had difficult time to even post this for some reason….

    • Kamau40

      Loyal-

      FYI, I would like for you to read about the most common myths about El Nino below. Again, the information I provide is always backed up with actual facts/data.

      http://ggweather.com/enso/enso_myths.htm

      • Loyal Brooks

        Thanks for bringing these to my attention. I will take a good look at these after the meetings I must attend today. BTW, I am old school and an not a Certified Meteorologist (CM). Instead, I am AMS Certified. The American Meteorological Society changed a few rules a while back, and they no longer issue the AMS seal anymore.

        • Kamau40

          Exactly!! I like the fact that Mr. Smallcomb took a very humbled approach about the drought in Ca associated with the “RRR.” We simply do not know what has caused the very persistent “RRR” near the southern part of the Gulf of Alaska. Noticed though he never said that it is caused by “man made” climate change which I absolutely to do not support based on scientific research, paleontological, archeological, and historical climate data. I noticed people on this blog want to come up with their own conclusions without any evidence to support their claims. There are many who are doing the same thing with the current development of El Nino. For example, for one to make the assumption that Ca will have a wet winter next winter, even if it does turn out to be strong, I think is not being very wise. Even though the odds are great the state will be wet it is still not a “guaranteed” fact. We simply won’t know until or if El Nino actually develops, which means that we have to wait and see and not get ourselves caught up with mythical assumptions.

          • Loyal Brooks

            Yes, there are an awful lot of unknowns to keep track of. Many of my posts go straight to “wet years happen when they happen” or something to that effect. There are so many misconceptions of what El Nino actually is – it is hard to start off with what we DO know!!

            You say that people on this blog are asserting wild claims without substantiation, such as the persistent ridge being exaggerated by man made climate change. You have asked me about this before, but I haven’t been able to be here often enough to see what you are talking about. Since this is a blog, maybe people are thinking out loud, or perhaps they are proposing something.

            We might want to think about this space as being able to express ideas about what is going on with the climate and weather. As always, when presenting new information, a link to where that comes from is always appreciated.

          • Kamau40

            I agree with the first paragraph of your blog. In regards to your response to a link debunking “made-made” climate change, the link below is one great website link that debunks many of the false ideas of “made made” climate change that is well supported by many certified climate scientists. I recommend reading thru at your own convenience and adding this to your favorites which supports climate change based on natural variability which is what I have always have and will continue to support.
            http://www.naturalclimatechange.us/updated-summary.html

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

            I’d agree about using extreme caution when discussing the potential for a wet winter in California, since there is indeed a lot of uncertainty still regarding El Nino and its eventual teleconnections. It would indeed be problematic if, for example, water management plans were made presuming a break in the drought.

            However, I am unaware of any evidence to date that “debunks” climate change, or its attribution to human activities. The website you’ve linked to–which you’ve actually posted before, and I did previously take the time to take a look at it–is simply not a good source of information. The author clearly does not have an understanding of the physics or chemistry of the atmosphere, since there are a number of fundamental errors in his arguments. Further, I must admit that it’s very difficult to take seriously any source that includes discussion of large-scale government conspiracies underlying the existence of cirrus clouds.

          • Kamau40

            In response to one of your bloggers the other day about the sun affecting our climate I totally agree with: “The sun is one of the most important drivers of climate on long timescales! Changes in solar irradiance and in Earth’s orientation relative to the sun have been the cause of tremendous climate changes in the distant past. In the distant future, the sun will continue to be a dominant driver of Earth’s climate.” In addition, clouds always have for centuries regulate Earth’s temp keeping it from becoming too dangerously hot or cold, right? Yes, it is the same website link I used on this blog before because it is one of many great websites; it has excellent links all in one that debunks the theory of “man-made” climate change due to Greenhouse Emissions, Fossil Fuels, CO2, that many people claim. As you know, I have also used several other websites along with videos from certified scientists who studies climate but you always say “they don’t have a good understanding of the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere” which I cannot perceive how they don’t even though that’s what they have been doing everyday of their lives. The author on the link I have posted before actually sites and quotes scientists, physicists, meteorologists who studies climate/weather for a living for many, many decades. I argue that they have a great understanding of the physics and chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere. How can they all be wrong when their findings and studies reveal that the Earth’s temp, climate and weather is well within Natural Variability?

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

            I’d once again ask that the discourse here remains fact-based. Assertions are not facts. That the global mean temperature is rising is a simple fact that’s no more open to debate than the existence of owls:

            There are plenty of big questions in atmospheric science and lots of room for debate on important scientific issues, but the existence and attribution of global warming isn’t one of them.

          • Kamau40

            Have you ever read a book called “ClimateGate” by a long time Veteran Meteorologist Brian Sussman? He is very well known at least across the US and has won many awards from the AMS(American Meteorological Society). If you have not I highly recommend you buy it because it is filled with scientific facts and data that also debunks the whole “man made” climate change theory which not all filled with assertions.

          • Kamau40

            Yes, the discourse here is indeed fact based which is what I have provided many times on this discussion. I have you heard of a book called “Climate Gate” by Brian Sussman? Have you read it? He is a well known Veteran Meteorologist and has earned many awards from the AMS(American Meteorological Society). He is also an expert on Climate/Weather and he brilliantly lays out facts/data on regarding both sides of the argument on this continued debate. Furthermore, he provided hard concrete evidence, historical and present data and much vast amount of resources to show why “made made” climate change does not exist. The video link you provided is no different than all others I heard and read down thru the years and also they are no where near credible people to rely upon.

          • Kamau40

            Sending me video links of talk show hosts and bureaucrats do not qualify as credible sources on this debate. Here is a great book I highly recommend for you to buy and read, it is called “ClimateGate” by Brian Sussman. He is a well known Veteran Meteorologist and a real expert on climate. Now, have you ever heard of the book or the author? Have you read it? If you want Truth about this subject matter please buy it before we continue on with the debate and or discussion.

  • lightning10

    Strongest May Hurricane on record. Interesting to see it explode that quickly.

    • Dan the Weatherman

      The latest NHC advisory stated that Amanda had sustained winds of 150 mph, a strong Category 4 hurricane. However, it is beginning to weaken and probably won’t get any stronger. Having this strong of a hurricane this early in the Eastern Pacific is a rare event, and it likely is feeding off a warmer than normal pool of water off the coast of Mexico. Back in 2010, the waters were below average in this same location I believe.

  • David Thomas

    with a mod too strong EL nino positive SOI will not really mater or will it ? am gusting it all depends on where EL Nino sets up shop

  • Dreamer

    Will Hurricane Amanda create even more warmth to help start the strong El Nino?

    • Sunchaser

      I hope whats left of her get drawn up into So Cal….

      • Dreamer

        I doubt we’ll even get a high cloud as a remain of Amanda. Be patient; Daniel Swain said we have a good chance of getting moisture from the remains of hurricanes in the August to October time frame if we do go into strong El Nino. If we’re really lucky (or unlucky) we might even get something like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939_Long_Beach_Tropical_Storm

    • David Thomas

      1st we need too see where EL nino sets up shop then we can talk about how strong it gets

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

      Probably won’t do much, since it’s too far north of the Equator to induce a westerly wind burst. Might be feeding off of unusually warm waters due to developing El Nino, though. We tend to see lower-latitude tropical cyclones in the West Pacific than the East Pacific, which is where we’ll be watching for westerly wind bursts over the next few months.

  • craig matthews

    Wow, off the weather grid for a few days, and come back to “Amanda”! Strongest Hurricane in May! So this seams like a sign to me, that there are already some effects in the atmosphere being observed in the eastern pacific as El Nino is developing. A combination of a bunch of things; warmer then average ssts off Mexico(and basically the entire west coast of North and Central America), above average convective activity in that area, upper level winds are favorable as well as surface winds. But, these conditions can be observed early in the season without El Nino. In any case, it exciting to see these developments unfold. Surfs up on south facing beaches in a few days or so. But that’s all we will see of Amanda here in California, just some southerly swells. Too much westerly flow aloft over the northeast pacific to allow left over moisture from Amanda to move this far north. Need to wait till July or August when the pacific jet has weakened more and retreated way north to allow southern moisture to migrate north without a shunting westerly flow in place. As far as WWB’s, in 1997, we had WWB’s in February, May, August, October, and November. Notice the fact that there were lull periods in WWB,s. Which I think we are in a lull now, and a WWB should occur in the next month, I hope

    • Dan the Weatherman

      You are definitely right in that it is too early in the season for moisture from remnants of tropical systems to reach CA at this time and for the reasons you mentioned. When the 4 Corners High becomes established and in a favorable position, then the flow will be more favorable for moisture to spread in from the south.

      • Shaggy

        The forecast pop for southeast Arizona for Thu-Sat timeframe is around 20%, due mainly to an expected influx of moisture from the south, as central Mexico will likely see some drenching rains from Amanda’s remnants. A 20% pop value (likely to play out in a convective scenario a la monsoon season) is fairly high for late May here, statistically the driest time of year in the Desert Southwest.

        &&Previous discussion…low pressure center is finally making its way
        into the Texas Panhandle this afternoon. Strong ridging over our
        area will replace it…with a steep warming trend to peak on
        Wednesday and the potential for the first 105 degree day at ktus. Flow
        aloft will become more southerly…helping to draw up some middle-level
        moisture from the Gulf of California. Cloud cover will begin to
        increase during the day on Wednesday. As of right now…do not expect any
        precipitation to come into the picture until at least Thursday morning as a
        piece of energy splits off of what will likely be the remnants of
        hurricane Amanda. Chances of showers and thunderstorms will continue
        area wide through Friday night. As per usual…best chances of precipitation will
        be in the higher elevations.

        • Dan the Weatherman

          Maybe this is a sign of a good monsoon season coming up. It would be nice to see some significant rains in AZ this summer, since drought conditions are bad there as well.

          • craig matthews

            Moisture drawn up into AZ from a hurricane off Mexico in May is oh so rare.

          • Shaggy

            I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic. If not, please enlighten us, maybe draw a distinction between why So Cal doesn’t get this while the interior SW, in this case, does. We’re not in a monsoonal pattern yet obviously.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            It takes a more south to southeast flow in the mid-upper levels of the atmosphere for monsoon / tropical remnant moisture to reach Socal, and this time of year the flow is usually more southwesterly to westerly to even northwesterly at times as the Pacific jet hasn’t quite retreated to its summer position yet. Once the 4 Corners High becomes established (usually sometime in July) then the flow becomes more favorable as we enter monsoon season. The high has to be in the right place, as any displacement of the high by a trough in the Pacific NW can shunt the flow to the drier southwesterly direction which pushes moisture over the interior desert regions.

          • craig matthews

            Right on! As far as official monsoon start date, it use to be around July 4th in AZ, but that might be changed now. Anybody know? We may be in for an early start to the monsoon season if that ridge that is building over northern Mexico continues to stay, and then amplifies north and northwest toward the 4 corners in the coming weeks ahead of this weak upper level trough that is expected to sit off the California coast for the next 10 days. But that same trough may shunt that ridge east as well.

          • Dan the Weatherman

            It is rare for tropical moisture from an eastern Pacific tropical system to stream into AZ at this time because storms down there are usually weaker this early in the season or they don’t form at all until later on. The Eastern Pacific hurricane season began May 15 and goes until November 30.

  • David Thomas

    1st big fire of the season up here this is vary early

    http://www.mymotherlode.com/news/local/209430/fire-mariposa-up-300-acres.html

    with the dry winter we have had looks like we may be seeing more of them pop up hop not but this is not looking good this could be the wors fire season ever up here the grass has really dryed out the pass few weeks

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

      Early indeed. It’s shaping up to be a very bad fire season.

    • http://yourlivingbody.com/ Your Living Body

      So. Cal. Got started a couple of weeks ago.

  • Xerophobe

    I know it’s just forecast models but…

    • Dogwood

      Seems to be a drop or leveling out in June and July. A big bet hedge in hopes of anticipated return of some major WWB. Hope that materializes in a big way. It’s all set up for success.

    • craig matthews

      It looks like the black dotted line(Forecast ensemble mean) has trended upward lately and is now forecasting El Nino 3.4 peaking between 1.5C and 2.0C. And now these forecast members are showing the peak strength of this forecast El Nino to be in the November-January period, which is better then the forecast peak in October that was shown a couple of weeks ago. But, this is a forecast model, and we are still in wait mode. Its exciting to see this forecast, but its a forecast models best educated and calculated guess for the future of this developing El Nino. And as for WWB in June, there appears to be more uncertainty now as the MJO is becoming less coherent and the ensemble models are more uncertain as well in regards to a forecast for WWBs. But, even that doesn’t really mean much. However there does appear to be some developments(possibly MJO related) over Africa coming into the Indian ocean that need to be watched in the next few weeks that could produce a more favorable condition in the Western Pacific for WWBs in the next couple of months. This springtime barrier really makes a forecast for El Nino so vague to me. I am patiently waiting for a little more certainty for a strong El Nino later this year. Sorry for the rambling on but thanks for the update.

  • Sunchaser

    Amanda looks like a lost sheep south west of cabo..hopefully she will stay togdther and give us something….even if its clouds here in So Cal..

    • Sunchaser

      And just like that amanda is gone..

  • big_oil

    thanx much for this blog…to me, a California geologist who wants to see lots of rain this winter, the question “what causes El Nino conditions ?” is as interesting as the possible correlations between ocean warming and California weather… the “cause” question doesn’t seem to get much attention – just the fact that El Nino seems to come and go at random intervals…I would posit that deep ocean warming is the result of sub-sea volcanism and is therefore 100% random and unpredictable – unless a correlation exists between, say, observed Hawaii volcanic activity and ocean warming…has such a possible correlation been studied and, if so, is there any ?…thanx again

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

      The question of what actually drives the variability in equatorial Pacific sea surface temperatures we call El Nino/La Nina is an excellent one, and there’s not yet a clear scientific answer. It may partly be a “build up/discharge” process, with more or less random triggering events sufficient to initiate an El Nino event once the West Pacific warm pool has grown sufficiently deep/large. It remains one of the big unknowns of the ocean/climate system!

      To be clear, though, El Nino is mostly a shallow ocean warming process (temperature anomalies don’t extend much lower than a few hundred meters in depth). This–in combination with the truly phenomenal amount of energy involved in heating massive volumes of ocean water by 2+ degrees C–essentially eliminates the possibility of undersea volcanism as a cause. In short, it would require such a massive eruption to heat that much ocean water to such degree that we would have much bigger things to worry about. :)

      • big_oil

        not to belabor the point (although that’s what i’m doing !), would you happen to have a link to any evidence to substantiate your comment that ocean temp anomalies are limited to relatively shallow depths ?…certainly in the region of Hawaii’s big island, mantle material (and near-mantle temps) reaches the surface…and at plate boundaries in the far western and eastern Pacific, the mantle/ocean connection is direct (as in Iceland and the rest of the mid-Atlantic Ridge)…can we really rule out such fault connections as the ultimate origin of the shallow heat anomalies ?…what other kinds of “random triggering events” have been postulated ?…solar or micro-biologic activity ?…sorry for taking your attention on this…thanx again

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

          The attached graphic shows current observed temperature anomalies over different depths. Note that the vast majority of the warming is occurring at less than ~150 meters depth and all above 400 meters. The random triggering events I’m talking about are essentially westerly wind bursts–in other words, the occurrence of low-latitude weather systems that cause an unusual (but temporary) surge in east-to-west winds near the equator.

        • xeren

          the shallow depths are the area that interface with the atmosphere, that’s why they are cared about- i’m sure there are also deep ocean anomalies, but as weather west said, if some volcanoes were enough to heat THAT much water (maybe 2,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water just in the equatorial pacific?) by 2 degrees every 5 years or so, our planet would be in big trouble

        • OnShoreFlow

          “solar activity”…a commonly overlooked/shunned aspect of mainstream climatology. Not enough funding or just plain attention is paid to our star. Plenty of peer reviewed papers out there, just no one in the upper ranks to have the power to change the status quo….

          When you bring up the sun to any meteorologist as a substantial catalyst to atmospheric behavior, you mostly get “psuedo science” this and that. Its mostly conditioned ignorance based on there strict rules/doctrine to never be open minded to anything that contradicts there scripture.

          • Loyal Brooks

            I am a meteorologist, and I have never heard of any scientist just dismissing the effects of our sun in the picture of things. Our sun has the first and last word as to what weather we will observe on earth, and I have NEVER heard it put any other way by any climate or weather scientist. There is a whole realm of science devoted to “space weather.” NOAA, the organization that brings us the information we have on all aspects of weather and climatology – including day to day weather forecasting also has it’s own space weather home page. http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SWN/index.html

            Just out of curiosity – and lend some credibility to this outrageous claim – please cite a few of the “plenty of peer reviewed papers” you are referring to. I will be happy to review them for you! Thanks.

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

            The sun is one of the most important drivers of climate on long timescales! Changes in solar irradiance and in Earth’s orientation relative to the sun have been the cause of tremendous climate changes in the distant past. In the distant future, the sun will continue to be a dominant driver of Earth’s climate.

            At this particular moment in Earth’s history, however, the observed changes in our climate are simply not consistent with the way the sun is changing. The Earth has gotten warmer at a time when solar changes suggest it should actually be cooling. After a rather exhaustive investigation of the many possible natural causes (including the sun) of the observed warming, it turns out greenhouse forcing is the only one consistent with what we’ve actually observed over the past century. Part of the reason why we have high certainty in this is because the recent changes have occurred incredibly rapidly relative to changes driven by the sun in Earth’s past–on the order of decades for greenhouse forcing rather than tens to hundreds of thousands of years or more for solar forcings.

        • bryan kerr

          Tacking onto Daniel’s comment, the sun has much more influence on ocean warming than undersea volcanism. Average global heat flow (from radioactive decay of elements in the mantle and leftover primordial heat) is only about 0.07 watts per square meter. Even at the mid-ocean ridges, average heat flow is less than half a watt per square meter. Averaged over a 24-hour day, the earth’s surface receives about 164 watts per square meter from the sun. At high noon on a summer day in low latitudes, the earth’s surface gets over 1000 watts per square meter. So the sun’s contributing about 2000 times more energy to the ocean than all the heat from the earth, including submarine volcanism.

  • Dan the Weatherman

    I think it is getting to the point that the NWS 6-10 Day and 8-14 Day Outlooks are just showing above normal temperatures over CA no matter what. The 6-10 Day outlook today is showing just that. However, the discussion states otherwise:

    THE 500-HPA HEIGHTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE ABOVE NORMAL OVER AND JUST OFF THE COAST OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST, ENHANCING ODDS OF ABOVE-NORMAL TEMPERATURES THERE. ELSEWHERE ACROSS THE WESTERN CONUS, MODELS ARE FAVORING NEAR NORMAL TEMPERATURES UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF A TROUGH EXPECTED EARLY IN THE PERIOD.

    If that is the case, why are they not showing NEAR NORMAL temperatures (white) as opposed to ABOVE NORMAL (red & orange) for CA?

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

      I think, by national standards, California sometimes fall under the umbrella of “Pacific Northwest.” 😉

      • Zepp

        Certainly here in Siskiyou County we consider ourselves part of the PNW. Our climate and vegetation are much more similar to that of the Cascades than to Sacramento or San Francisco, and some physical cartographers regard Mount Shasta as part of the Cascade range.

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

    Not too much to discuss in the short term. Breezy/windy conditions, perhaps occasional isolated mountain thunderstorms, and relatively mild temperatures will be the rule for the next 7-10+ days. I’ll hopefully have an update this weekend on where California stands from a drought perspective, since the rainy season is now over. The short version: it’s gonna be a looong summer.

  • Loyal Brooks

    Yesterday, Kamau40 suggested I watch a video of a lecture by Chris Smallcomb from Reno, NV. This is an excellent, “big picture” look at how this drought has evolved, including the unusual rainfall and temperature patterns that have emerged as a result. This would also necessarily include the limited snowfall observed in the Sierra.

    Because CA is in such a deep and extended-play drought, water conditions have reached a crisis level in some areas. Some of the largest reservoirs are only half of what the were LAST YEAR! Yikes! Since I do not currently live in CA, I am very interested to know any details about how these low water levels are affecting you. I know that in the last several months, some have spoken about native trees that are dying, permanent springs that have dried up, fires that have broken out, etc. One person once commented that there was no new growth from the Rim Fire near Yosemite last year. Is there any regrowth now?

    To check the current levels of your nearby reservoir, check out this link.. http://cdec.water.ca.gov/cgi-progs/reservoirs/RES

    • Xerophobe

      Here’s one from Monterey County for Monterey Peninsula area and Salinas Valley: 1) MRY Peninsula area. We have always been in a “Stage 1” status. http://montereywaterinfo.org/emergencyConservation.html and have plans for possible desal plant(s). There are no real aquifers along the immediate coast other than Carmel River which has had it’s pumping cut back for years and http://tinyurl.com/qg9nb2r . Los Padres dam (Carmel River) right above Cachagua was spilling this spring which will help but it’s more silt filled than water filled. 2) In Salinas Valley known as “Salad Bowl of the World” things are not that bad and kinda business as usual http://tinyurl.com/oww88km The Central Valley is hit hardest. There’s some real dire stories from there and other places and I’ll let the others chime in.

      Good to see your posts as always.

      • Loyal Brooks

        Very informative! The links are quite appreciated…. It seems to me that everywhere in CA should be in “Stage 1” status as a blanket policy for any year, not just drought years. I didn’t see anything regarding “water banking,” but that may not be the best answer for your region.

        Los Angeles county has the most sophisticated water banking system that I am aware of, but it is hard to bank water in Mojave Desert conditions 3 years in a row. If interested in what L.A. does to bank water, follow.. http://dpw.lacounty.gov/landing/waterResources.cfm
        While on this page, there is quite a bit of information, so a suggestion is to to go “Stormwater Management” dropdown menu, then select “Operations and Facilities.”

        It is well known that municipalities use a very small portion of the water used in the state. Agriculture is, by far, the largest consumer. It is unsustainable to continue irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley as “business as usual.” Open, unlined canals, with flood irrigation is not the best policy. Israel uses drip irrigation everywhere in the country out of sheer necessity.

        • Xerophobe

          To sum it up: “It’s Complicated”. Here’s one more site to look at, if you wish http://www.aquafornia.com/

          • Loyal Brooks

            Thanks, and duly bookmarked!

          • Loyal Brooks

            OK, I was able to spend a little more time here today, and had a chance to read many posts today. I am suddenly labeled some feeble-minded unthinking, unaware intellectual that doesn’t know what to do with my own thoughts and need to wait for someone higher up on some power structure.

            Someone who has studied this tiny niche for so many decades is never even taken into account by so many who have grand armchair opinions as to who and what meteorologists do and how they think.

      • Cachagua

        Carmel River did not make it to the ocean this year despite a full L.P dam. Lots of river trees such as alders and willows starting to die on cachagua creek. Water table so low its going to take more then one good wet winter to get us back to where we use to be. My wells still producing water but don’t know how long that’ll last considering.

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

          It definitely is going to take more than one wet winter to recover (in a groundwater and streamflow sense) from the current drought. Even an exceptionally wet year would not be sufficient at this point, and we certainly have no guarantee of that. A lot of the shorter-term problems would be much improved by a wet winter, though.

          • stephenverchinski

            Ditto for the intermountain west. In NM there is already woodland species type die offs and the spruce die offs at higher elevations are continuing. Northern reservoirs are being rapidly drawn down despite some really nice snowfalls in the Rockies but those seemed to be concentrated only in the most highest elevations.

    • Bartshe

      I live in the Eastern Sierra, just up the road from where the lecture took place (Mammoth Lakes area). We are starting to see more and more conifers that are succumbing to the last three years of drought–different species in a variety of locations that are just suddenly dying as we enter late-spring. It’s locally dramatic in a few spots, but otherwise only noticeable if you lived here a while. Beyond that, a wide-range of issues related to reduced runoff, some extremely low local reservoirs, groundwater concerns, recreation challenges, hydro-power, and the myriad economic impacts which are already taking a toll on the financial health of residents and Mono County government (like other parts of California!). Mono Lake has just passed an 18 year-low stand, and it will fall farther in elevation before the end of this year. And of course, there’s the fire season…

      • Loyal Brooks

        Often overlooked are the increased cost of having to burn more fossil fuels to replace the drastically reduced hydroelectric output. This will raise energy costs over all, and bring in more air pollution to the state as a whole. Sometimes this gets overlooked. Thanks for mentioning it!

  • TheNothing

    Around here where I live nobody has a lush green lawn anymore, and if you did, you would be frowned upon for not doing your part in water conservation.

  • TheNothing

    This is a cool site by NASA, it doesn’t always work but when it does set it to full screen and enjoy.
    http://eol.jsc.nasa.gov/HDEV/

  • Xerophobe

    This image shows SSTA plus ocean currents. It’s not animated, however the ‘lines’ (currents) north of the equator are moving west to east.The surface winds however still show an east to west movement. I really don’t know how to interpret this in the light of the ginormous Kelvin wave a few months back or WWB’s or anything for that matter. So greater minds than mine…what say you?

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

      The surface winds are, in fact, more “westerly” than usual–in the form of weaker-than-usual east to west winds. With another good WWB or two, it’s likely these winds would switch direction entirely and begin to blow from west to east.

      • craig matthews

        I know forecasting a WWB in advance is tricky, with so many forcings, mechanisms, oscillations, and etc having to work together and line up just right to get one to develop in the right place. But do you see any hints in the tropics, say like the Indian Ocean across the Maritime region that might create a favorable atmospheric condition for the development of a WWB near the dateline or west along the equator, say like in the next 30 days? Also, it looks like there is still a lot of warming that could take place in the far eastern equatorial pacific in the next month, with such a large positive anomaly remaining under the surface of the ocean in such a large area in the eastern equatorial pacific that should aid it continued warming of ssts off the coast of Peru( T-Depth Animation). And with that continued warming of ssts in the eastern equatorial pacific, could that in turn eventually create stronger westerly wind anomalies along the equatorial pacific as the airmass over the surface of the ocean warms more to the east in response to warming ssts in the eastern pacific? (positive feedback?). It seams like we should start to see this strong warming in the eastern equatorial pacific implement self reinforcing feedbacks as the waters in the eastern equatorial pacific should continue to warm even further with what is going on under the surface of the ocean in that area. Any thoughts?

        • craig matthews

          Reason for this question above here, is, it seams like we could still get a strong El Nino just with what we already have in place in the central and eastern equatorial pacific, both under the surface of the ocean and at the surface. And as positive feedbacks develop, that in itself could sustain a developing strong El Nino to me without more help.

          • Kamau40

            Craig-
            Great question. I think your comments above is a well thought out question. I do not have a definitive answer because I have been wondering about the same thing. It will be interesting to hear Dan’s response.

          • craig matthews

            I guess patience is a virtue I don’t have. Because I want a strong El Nino now! And I want wet stormy winters to come back now! JK! Kamau40, we are sure learning a lot through all of this. If my question above appears well thought out, then I guess my little gained knowledge in atmospheric sciences I owe all to this blog, Mr. Swain, you and so many other fine individuals on this blog that have taken the time to share ideas and valuable info that have helped me try to figure out how the elements in earth and sky work together. It sounds like Dan is going to have some really interesting posts coming up soon. Can’t wait!

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

          These are great questions, and I think you have the details mostly right. It’s likely we will need an additional push to sustain above normal ocean temperatures for more than another couple of months, but it’s more than likely that this will occur. I do see signs of possible major WWB activity in the West Pacific in the second half of June. This may be related to an MJO signal that may finally be propagating eastward into the Pacific basin. We shall see. I’ll probably have a brief update by Monday on drought conditions and the current pattern, but I’ll wait another week or so for a new El Nino update (by then it may be clear there’s an impending WWB on the horizon).

          • craig matthews

            Thanks. I can’t wait to hear what you have to say next

  • David Thomas

    this could make it a vary cold and snowy fall and winter look

    column quickly rose to an estimated 50-65,000 ft wish is vary high this could have a big impact on EL nino and are weather down the rd

    http://www.volcanodiscovery.com/sangeangapi/news/44991/Sangeang-Api-volcano-Sunda-Islands-Indonesia-major-explosive-eruption-with-ash-to-15-20-km-altitude.html

    • craig matthews

      This is real interesting. There have been a lot of eruptions lately down in that area, but this eruption appears to be the biggest one yet. In 1982-83 we had strong El Nino plus El Chichon(misspelled?) volcano eruption. I’m not sure how that offset the warming of the atmosphere that occurred from that strong El Nino in 1983. Haven’t delved to much lately in volcano stats but I think El Chichon and Pinitubo were much bigger then this current explosion. If this volcano keeps pumping on with bigger explosions, then maybe it might help offset what could go down as one of the warmest years on record. Are there any comparisons yet out there with this current volcanic eruption to say like Pinitubo?

      • David Thomas

        that is interesting

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

      While this was a really visually spectacular event, it still isn’t anywhere near the magnitude of Pinatubo and or El Chichon in terms of aerosol emission, which is the primary mechanism by which volcanic activity influences the climate. While there’s a small chance that could change if the eruption becomes much larger, for now, this is one of those few pretty cool geophysical events we can watch unfold with a pretty low threat to people and economies.

      https://twitter.com/ObservingSpace/status/472518319652622336/photo/1

      • David Thomas

        do you think there will be any side effects with are fourming mod two strong EL nino with this volcano ? you think this volcano will impact the fourming of EL nino ? with all the ASH down there right now ?

        • Xerophobe

          Aerosols are not the ash particles but with regard to volcanoes mainly sulfuric acid particles in the stratosphere. The ash settles relatively quickly (a month or so) it’s the aerosols that block solar radiation and do the cooling. I don’t know what happens to the sulfuric acid or how it interacted with 82-82 El Nino, though.

      • Kamau40

        Volcanic eruptions has always been the norm. Depending on the size of the eruptions the ash particles does affect the temp of the Earth’s atmosphere which is important to note and can at least temporarily affect weather/climate. This is of course not the first and will certainly not be the last.

    • JimmySD

      Here’s a cool shot of the eruption on NASA Worldview:

      https://earthdata.nasa.gov/labs/worldview/?switch=geographic&products=baselayers,!MODIS_Aqua_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor,MODIS_Terra_CorrectedReflectance_TrueColor~overlays,!sedac_bound&time=2014-05-31&map=117.67627,-9.634277,121.367676,-7.709473

      • Loyal Brooks

        You know what is best about this image, besides the bold look? When you pan out, you see the ash plume drifting to the east. This is in the region of concern when we are talking about El Nino development. Love it!

  • lightning10

    People in California are making more money by not pumping water during the drought.

    http://www.scpr.org/blogs/environment/2014/05/30/16737/california-drought-news-workers-leaving-water-pump/

  • Loyal Brooks

    Agriculture in the Central Valley is becoming more vulnerable not only due to the severe water problems, but also a new study shows the CV is now seeing a drop in wintertime fog – necessary for most orchard crops.

    In a new report, NASA and NOAA satellite records – together with data from a network of Univ.of CA weather stations – have studied foggy days in the last 32 consecutive winters. While there was much variability from year to year, these researchers have found a 46% drop in the number of fog days from Nov to Feb. Since this fog reflects so much sunlight, the all-day fogs are chilly days. The study found that the number of hours of winter chill has dropped by several hundred since the 1950s.

    Follow this link to read more: http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2014/05/20/central-valley-gets-less-winter-tule-fog-for-crops/

    • lightning10

      What is strage about that is isn’t cold air advocation the cause for the lack of fog?

      • Loyal Brooks

        Cold air advection over the CV during the winter months occurs when a deep trough extends S over the state. In those situations, a dry surface air mass from the N of NE settles over the area. Since the trajectory of the air is over land, it will be dry and that will lead to the lack of fog as you say. Those are the coldest periods in the CV – when the dewpoint is at it’s lowest.

        Foggy conditions arise due to radiational cooling of the long winter nights during calm and clear weather, where heat on the floor of the CV radiates to space and the air cools to the dew point. When there are dewpoints near 35F or so, and overnight lows drop to that, fog will form, and that is what you see in the satellite image. Since cold air sinks, this fog can sit in the valley and build up over several days and become quite thick – and thus more difficult for the sun to evaporate away during the day. These are the periods of “chill” the farmers need for many fruits and nut orchards.

        Fog like this is far more common when soils are moist. If too dry, fog is difficult to form, and will not last long after sunrise if it does. If it rains too much or often, the atmosphere is stirred up, and the necessary calm conditions are unable to develop.

    • Loyal Brooks

      Jackpot! The SJV NWS posted the correlations between foggy days and a strong, moderate and weak El Ninos, as well as neutral conditions and, of course La Nina. They put together charts to illustrate the relationship between Fresno and Bakersfield with: Water Year, Ave Winter Temps, Number. 28F or Colder Days, and Number of Foggy Days.

      Of greatest interest now is the relationship to rainfall and a weak, moderate and strong El Nino. At Fresno, for instance, the charts show weak events = no correlation, moderate events = below average while strong El Ninos are correlated with above average precipitation. Bakersfield has somewhat different outcomes. Explanation of methodology is found at the bottom of the page. This is an EXCELLENT chart to show how differing El Ninos affect the precipitation in the SJV!! Please see: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/hnx/ElNinoLaNinaComparison.pdf

      • Kamau40

        Loyal-

        Great post, everything you said is exactly correct which has been very much in line with what I have been saying all a long with supportive facts/data and videos about El Niño weather patterns.

  • Loyal Brooks

    Jackpot! Serendipity strikes! While searching for data about the fog in the SJV for the post below, I ran across this gem of a chart. The SJV NWS posted the correlations between foggy days and a strong, moderate and weak El Ninos, as well as neutral conditions and, of course La Nina. They put together charts to illustrate the relationship between Fresno and Bakersfield with: Water Year, Ave Winter Temps, Number. 28F or Colder Days, and Number of Foggy Days.

    Of greatest interest now is the relationship to rainfall and a weak, moderate and strong El Nino. At Fresno, for instance, the charts show weak events = no correlation, moderate events = below average while strong El Ninos are correlated with above average precipitation. Bakersfield has somewhat different outcomes. Explanation of methodology is found at the bottom of the page. This is an EXCELLENT chart to show how differing El Ninos affect the precipitation in the SJV!! Please see: http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/hnx/ElNinoLaNinaComparison.pdf

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  • Lara Smith

    After six years in marriage with my husband with 3 kids, he suddenly started going out with other women and coming home late, each time i confronted him it turns out to be a fight and he always threatened to divorce me at all time, my marriage was gradually coming to an end. i tried all i could to stop him from this unruly attitude but all proved abortive, until i saw a post in the forum about a spell caster who helps people cast spell on marriage and relationship problems, at first i doubted it but decided to give it a try, when i contacted this Spell caster Dr. ZAKI via email, he helped me cast a spell and within 4 hours my husband came back apologizing for all he has done and promised never to do such again and today we are happily together again. Contact this Great spell caster for your marriage or relationship issues via this email; dr.zakispellhome@gmail.com

  • Anonymous

    i had information about this spell caster robinsonbuckler@yahoo. com, about his glorious spell to people, but at first i felt unconcerned because i hardly go for such things because i thought it has a side effect but i was very in need of his help because my lover hates me so much, so i gave Mr Robinson a chance to cast a love spell for me, to my surprise his spell worked for me very fine and fast, my man started loving me again

  • mrslee david

    MY TESTIMONY HOW MY LOVER CAME BACK TO ME AGAIN,
    My husband broke up with me 5 months ago on the 2ND OF NOVEMBER 2013, and forced me to sign the divorce papers, and i was completely heartbroken. And I could not get back into any shape emotionally. because my heart and hope was completely lost. Because i love him so much I could not think, eat, sleep, or walk without the ache in my heart. And the thoughts in my head were all about him and the pains that i went through while seeing him with another woman taught me lessons. I so wish that I could have changed the clock back and never to have experienced the pains he made me went through. I ThankGod for this astonishing and brilliant NATURAL LOVE spell caster that came to my rescue. Wow! This spell caster has helped me so much. DR. AGBAKOR guaranteed me an urgent 24 hours NATURAL LOVE spell casting, of which i accepted it. Shockingly! this month on the 4TH OF JUNE 2014, my husband called me back with lots of apologies after 24 hours which DR.AGBAKOR assured me, and he did everything possible to withdraw the divorce papers which was previously ongoing with the power of this miracle working spell caster. My husband and i have been living contentedly since this spell caster reunited us together with his love spells. Thank you so so so much Lord AGBAKOR for your powerful spells. expressions are not sufficient to say thank you. here is his email address and PHONE NUMBER: Email: (agbakorspelltemple@gmail.com)or+2348063345330…contact him today and get your problems solved once and for all..
    1 LOVE SPELL
    2 WIN EX BACK
    3 FRUIT OF THE WOMB
    4 PROMOTION SPELL
    5 PROTECTION SPELL
    6 BUSINESS SPELL
    7 GOOD JOB SPELL
    8 LOTTERY SPELL
    9 COURT CASE SPELL

    Mrs marrian thomas from USA..

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  • sarah wilfred

    Am making this testimony to the world because of what this great man called drzizi did for me i never believed in spell casters unti i came in contact with this great man my boyfriend left me 1month ago because of another girl i was so down and felt that the world should end until i contacted drzizi who told me that i should not worry that he will come back to me and he told me all i need to do which i did and after two days my boyfriend called and told me that he was sorry for leaving me that he wanted to come back and i was so happy so am telling the world in case you are having problem with your relationship you can contact him with the following details:drzizitemple@gmail.com or call him on +2348164509114
    Rose
    Germany

  • Marren Bond

    Today has being the most happiest day of my life after 1 year of sadness and sorrow without being with the one i love, i tried all my possible best to make sure i make my lover happy but it never seems to work out well it was like am doing everything in vain but all thanks to Dr EROMOSALE for coming to change all my worries and sadness to Joy. i knew the great man when i read some wonderful reviews about Dr EROMOSALE how he has helped a lots of people on there relationship problem i was reading a magazine which then i saw great testimonies as well which then i decided not to waste time because i have missed my lover so much i decided to contact him and share all my problem with him which then he told me not to worry that he assures me that within 48 hours everything would be sorted out i believed Dr EROMOSALE so much because i believe he can’t fail me but truly Dr EROMOSALE never failed me a man that stand on his worlds is really a man,my husband who left me for a year plus replied my text and for the first time returned my calls and asked me to please forgive him i was so happy and so grateful to Dr EROMOSALE for what he has done for me. if you are there passing through this same problem or of any kinds just contact this great man on eromosalelovespell@outlook.com or call him on +2348161850195.

  • Marren Bond

    Hi My name is ‘John Brown’ just want to share my experience with the world on how i got my love back and saved my marriage… I was married for 7years with 2kids and we lived happily until things started getting ugly and we had fights and arguments almost every time… it got worse at a point that she filed for divorce… I tried my best to make her change her mind & stay with me cause i loved her with all my heart and didn’t want to loose her but everything just didn’t work out… she moved out of the house and still went ahead to file for divorce… I pleaded and tried everything but still nothing worked. The breakthrough came when someone introduced me to this wonderful, great spell caster who eventually helped me out… I have never been a fan of things like this but just decided to try reluctantly cause I was desperate and left with no choice… He did special prayers and used roots and herbs… Within 7 days she called me and was sorry for all the emotional trauma she had cost me, moved back to the house and we continue to live happily, the kids are happy too and we are expecting our third child. I have introduced him to a lot of couples with problems across the world and they have had good news… Just thought I should share my experience cause I strongly believe someone out there need’s it… You can email him via eromosalelovespell@outlook.com Don’t give up just yet, the different between ‘Ordinary’ & ‘Extra-Ordinary’ is the ‘Extra’ so make extra effort to save your marriage/relationship if it’s truly worth it……