El Nino Status Update

Written by on April 27, 2015 in NatGasWeather - No comments


El Nino Intensifying, But Still Not Strongly Impacting US Weather Patterns, Just Ask California


El Nino Update:  You might have noticed we have been absent discussing El Nino over recent months, and it’s not because there hasn’t been media hype or increasing warm sea surface temperatures and anomalies across the equator of the Pacific Ocean, which is used to define the state of El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), but rather, weather patterns have just not been showing El Nino like characteristics.  Therefore, why hype something that isn’t providing strong influences on weather patterns.  Just ask California and the southwestern US how beneficial the El Nino signature of the past year has been in providing much needed heavy rains, which typically results from El Nino conditions.  The fact that drought conditions were exacerbated this winter as another ridiculously dry season occurred highlights just because some climate signatures are evident or are in phase, it doesn’t mean always mean they provide the expected results.


Warmer than normal sea surface temperatures are again increasing in intensity and coverage, much like they were going into last summer when El Nino hype was widespread.  But until weather patterns show stronger characteristics of  an El Nino, there’s little reason to expect a sudden onslaught of much needed wet storms to California or other El Nino favored wet regions.  That’s not to say these influences won’t increase eventually, but they are generally muted over the summer months due to a much weaker northern hemisphere jet stream.  Although, summertime El Nino conditions due typically lead to decreased Atlantic basin hurricane activity, and also can affect the Southwest Monsoon.  But the real significant effects on US weather patterns will have to wait until next winter season, which gives plenty of time to analyze how it evolves over the summer.   We will continue to look for signs of more El Nino like weather patterns coming over the next months and seasons, although beneficial rain and snow over the West will have to wait until next fall and winter for any potential easing of drought conditions. If El Nino does look fairly strong going into the winter season, while also showing some signs of influencing North American weather patterns, it would favor a bit milder temperatures over the eastern US compared to the past two years.


The following images highlight the current state of El Nino (ENSO):











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