El Nino Update
For most of the winter season (going back to November) sea surface temperatures in the subtropical Pacific have been slightly above normal. Simply put, we have been a weak El Nino this winter. Over the past several weeks sea surface temperatures have cooled off a little between South America and Australia. The graphic below shows sea surface temperature conditions across the globe. The blue areas represent cooler waters while the orange/yellow areas show the warm spots.
Note the patch of orange northeast of Australia near the equator that extends eastward to near South America. This is the location of the warmer El Nino waters. However, notice the patch of blue (cooler) waters forming west of South America. The result is a very weak El Nino that is slowly weakening. However, despite the weakening state, the influence of the warmer El Nino waters will likely impact the weather across the United States for the remainder of the winter. This means more rain for California and what will be most episodes of cold and snow for beef producers for the rest of the winter. We have a lot of winter still to get through and the weak El Nino is part of that equation.