Your membership has expired, click here to renew!


Date: 2/3/2016

Title: El Nino Update

El Nino has impacted our winter season so far and will continue to do so through the rest of the winter and early spring season.  Many of the expected El Nino impacts have already occurred, such as enhanced rain and snow in the far west, southwest and central and southern Rockies.  Also temperatures have been warmer than normal across many areas of the north, central and east so far this winter season. El Nino is also known to help enhance big snow storms in the east and we witnessed that in January across the Mid-Atlantic and East Coast.
The graphic below shows global sea surface temperatures as of January 29. The red/orange/brown colors highlight areas of above normal water while the blue areas highlight cooler than normal water temperatures. The east to west band of red/orange between Australia and Central America shows the warm El Nino waters.


Over the course of the past few weeks, the warmer El Nino waters have actually begun to cool. El Nino has reached its peak. However, there is a lag time between the warmest period of water and the impacts of El Nino. Therefore, we will continue to see more El Nino affects through the rest of the winter season.

Long range modeling is strongly suggestive that this El Nino will not persist into next year, in fact we will likely head into a La Nina weather pattern in the fall/winter of 2016/2017. The opposite takes place in the Pacific as colder waters dominate. You can see the modeling below in the chart showing a rapid dissipation of El Nino by late summer. 




The shift to a La Nina may have a big impact on weather patterns across the United States by fall and winter of 2016/2017 as a return to warmer and drier conditions in the Southern Plains and Central U.S. may be in the offing.  We will need to be watching this possible La Nina next year as closely as we have been tracking the current El Nino.