Synopsis: EL Nino-neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere spring 2013.
During January 2013, ENSO-neutral continued, although below-average sea surface temperatures (SST) prevailed across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific (Fig. 1). While remaining below average, a high degree of variability in the weekly Niño 3 and 3.4 indices was apparent during the month (Fig. 2). The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) was also below-average (Fig. 3), largely reflecting negative subsurface temperature anomalies in the eastern Pacific.
At the same time, positive anomalies increased and expanded eastward to the central Pacific by late January (Fig. 4). The variability in both the ocean and atmosphere was enhanced during January, at least partially due to a strong Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO). Consequently, the location of the MJO was reflected in the monthly averages of wind and convection.
Anomalous upper-level winds were westerly over the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific, while low-level winds were near average. Relative to December 2012, the region of enhanced convection shifted eastward and became more prominent over Indonesia and the western equatorial Pacific (Fig. 5). Despite these transient features contributing to cool conditions, the collective atmospheric and oceanic system reflects ENSO-neutral.
The vast majority of models predict near-average SST (between -0.5°C and +0.5°C) in the Niño- 3.4 region through the late Northern Hemisphere summer (Fig. 6). However, because model skill is generally low during April-June, there is less confidence in the forecast beyond the spring. Thus, ENSO- neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere spring 2013 (see CPC/IRI consensus forecast).
Feb. 8, 2013 — Weather forecasters have long known that El Niño events can throw seasonal climate patterns off kilter, particularly during winter months. Now, new research from NOAA and the University of Washington suggests that a different way to detect El Niño could help forecasters predict the unusual weather it causes.
A network of buoys that spans the Pacific, the TAO-Triton array, observes conditions in the upper ocean and is essential for forecasting El Niño months in advance, and for monitoring it as it grows and decays. A new study, just published in the February issue of the Journal of Climate, describes an atmospheric El Niño signal that is very strongly associated with U.S. winter weather impacts. Ed Harrison, Ph.D. of the NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle and Andrew Chiodi, Ph.D., of the NOAA Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington, co-authored the paper.
"When it comes to El Niño's weather impacts, we are always looking for ways to improve our forecasting skill," said Harrison. "Our goal is to extract the most useful information to predict El Niño seasonal weather anomalies."
Harrison and Chiodi looked at all El Niño events that were identified by sea surface temperature measurements since 1979. They then examined satellite imagery for these events and found that a subset of the events showed a sharp dip in heat radiating from the tops of deep convective clouds, an indicator known as outgoing long-wave radiation or OLR. When comparing the El Niño events to historical weather records, the scientists found that the El Niño events with drops in OLR were the ones most likely to play havoc with winter weather.
They also found that El Niño events with no corresponding drop in OLR did not produce statistically significant anomalies in weather patterns. The dip in heat from deep convective clouds usually occurred before winter, so the timing of the signal could help forecasters improve winter seasonal outlooks, the scientists said.
"By sorting El Niño events into two categories, one with OLR changes and one without, forecasters may be able to produce winter seasonal outlooks with more confidence than previously thought possible," Harrison said. El Niño refers to a warming of waters along the equator in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Through its influence on the atmosphere, El Niño shifts tropical rainfall patterns which causes further shifts in weather around the globe, including milder winters in western Canada and parts of the northern United States and wetter winters in the some southern states. Industry sectors from energy and construction to transportation and tourism are keenly interested in how El Niño will affect their costs.
El Niño-influenced weather can affect fuel oil demand, travel delays, and retail sales. Better accuracy in El Niño predictions could help industry to prepare for its impacts more efficiently.
We'll call it "Neutral" for now but we'll see how this plays out in
Hey Rob, OLR anomalies are definitely a help in ENSO forecasts. I found it rather interesting that most of the modeling predicting SST anomalies in Nino region 3.4 above zero were dynamical models, while most all of the ones predicting negative anomalies were statistical models. I believe that though this is a long, long way out, that this will bust. My reasoning for saying that is, first, the "Spring Barrier," where much higher amounts of rising air due to the onset of the warm season cause computer guidance to fall in overall verification/become less reliable, which is why this only happens in the Northern Hemisphere since there is so much more land and therefor additional lift which lowers model verification scores as opposed to the ocean laden Southern Hemisphere. Also, I think that the dynamical models are more accurate for this type of outlook and in many cases in general, (ECMWF vs. CSU CLIPR?). Furthermore, I think that the warmer anomalies that progressed eastward are the beginning of change. The MJO will help dictate things through Kelvin waves propagating eastward and warming the region as well as both oceanic and atmospheric Rossby waves, which as you clearly must know can increase sst's, also move east and the atmospheric Rossbys can help to create a synoptic environment that intensifies the effects of a developing ENSO anomaly. I could go on and on, but all this being said, and I have been saying for a very long time, I expect an El Nino to form, toward the end of the year, I do not think it will be a strong Nino at this time but an El nino between +.7 and 1.5/1.7 is my guess from ~6-8 months out, hahaha.
Hello again, it's John Manetta, this is in agreemeant.with myself, you, and who knows how many other talented forecasters out there. It is likely to verify since at the very least, you and I are in agreement on this outlook along with other talented forecasters, I'm sure that there are as a of fact, I know that they are, I only hope that they get word of this site, outside of the mets/focasteras we have here on the site.
A caviot, this Winter outlook, even this far away, (the first week of May), is a pretty confident/ballsy one. It islikewly to pay off.
By the way, I was in a serious rush typing thia, ao please excuse any grammatival errors, (I jnowtoy guys get the [point, but great grammer without misspellings makes the sute look more "prodesional,." That's just a thought.
Rob...please tell me Central Ohio is going to see big snow! We've had 2 inches here and 5 inches there but nothing to make the winter interesting (though we have seen more snow than last winter). Also looking forward to colder temps. The dogs drag in too much mud! Thank you, I enjoy your blog!
Meteorological winter is 1/3 in the books, and we're up to zero inches of snow, the next 2 weeks features zero snow, which will put as at 50% of winter in the books, still at zero inches of snow. It's time to start scaling back some winter forecasts.
what are the chances of some winter weather on Thanksgiving in Oklahoma? I also read the farmers almanac and they have been forecasting a winter mix for that week.. But according to accuweather and the weather channel that isn't happening.. I want some cold to bake my pies in lol..