El Niño Journal, Monday 1/12/1998

1.3″ of rain today, .9″ last night for a total of 10″ so far this month. 10″ in 12 days. That’s considerable.

Going back through my records for the prior three years, I find that in January of 1995 we had 13.85″ by 1/12, none in 1996 and only 7.5″ in 1997 (although we had 44.45″ when we started January.) March of 1995 brought us 14.5″ in the first 12 days, so we are up there with the best of my prior recorded storms.

El Niño Journal – Jan 4,1998

“Sunday, Jan 4th – 1.7″ last night and it’s still raining today. Lots of wind at the moment.”

Didnt have any weather watching/recording equipment back then, except a couple plastic rain gauges. I did keep track on my calendar of how much rain I got each day and night, as well as the total to-date for the season. I kept them all, too…I just have to find them!

El Niño 2015-2016

imageFrom Daniel Swain, of Weather West. For niffty charts and graphs and all manner of things, see his blog “Weather West” – link in the right column.

“Early 2015 brought similar news, with several new bursts of westerly winds and corresponding model forecasts of a building El Niño. This time, however, the anomalous westerly winds did not abate. The East Pacific had already built up considerable tropical and extratropical warmth during the “non-El Niño” of 2014, and additional heat quickly accumulated through the spring and early summer months of 2015. Much unlike 2014, ocean-atmosphere model forecasts continued to grow more emphatic regarding the potential for a very significant El Niño event by late summer. And this time, they were right: warmth the eastern tropical Pacific has recently reached values only seen previously during the strongest El Niño on record in 1997-1998. The atmosphere, too, has gotten its act together this time around—and is exhibiting a more strongly El Niño-like circulation pattern than has ever been observed previously during the summer months. Nearly every record that exists regarding tropical cyclones in the tropical Pacific has been broken over the past six months—and as of this writing, 3 major hurricanes were churning simultaneously over the central and eastern Pacific for the first time in recorded history. In fact, the combination of a powerful El Niño event and the sudden re-emergence of accumulated heat from the tropical West Pacific has created unprecedented warmth over a vast expanse of ocean, stretching thousands of miles from coastal Peru to the Gulf of Alaska.”

“It’s hard to imagine a more powerful predictive signal for California winter precipitation than the occurrence of a very strong El Niño event. Weak to moderate El Niño events can have highly variable effects in California, and are in most cases poor predictors of how much precipitation might fall in the Golden State. But the big events are a whole different ballgame—and the presence of a powerful El Niño in the tropical Pacific is the single most useful piece of information we have regarding what might take place in the months to come.

While even a record-strength El Niño in the tropical Pacific does not mean that California will experience record rains this winter—since there are always other factors at play—it does strongly shift the odds in favor of a wet winter. This not only fits with conceptual models regarding the atmospheric effects of El Niño, but is also strongly supported by model predictions. While the models do disagree upon the details, there is a very clear signal toward a classic “El Niño” winter dipole along the West Coast of North America, with much below-average precipitation in the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia and much above-average precipitation over essentially all of California from the Oregon border to Baja California.”

There you have it. Stocking up on extra food, dog food, wine, propane, and gas. Am I forgetting anything?

2015-2016 El Niño?

just a week or so ago, weather forecasters were saying the chances of an El Niño – in fact a strong one – for this winter were increasing substantially. Then today, NOAA, Monterey Bay said no, the models were all over the map.

The most succinct statement was issued today in the last paragraph of Daniel Swain’s blog, Weather West. He says: “And just to reiterate a key point from above: we still don’t know for sure whether strong or very strong El Niño conditions will ultimately develop (nor whether they will persist until winter, when they are most relevant for California). Confidence is starting to increase in current projections, since we’re now emerging from the Spring Predictability Barrier and most dynamical models are still suggesting the potential for a powerful event. But when we concatenate all the various uncertainties discussed above, there’s still something of an open question regarding what happens in California next winter. At this point, it’s fair to state that the likelihood of experiencing a wetter-than-average winter (and, perhaps, flooding) is increasing, but simultaneously that the risk of the California drought continuing into 2016 is nearly 100%. Needless to say: it will probably be a very interesting year to come for weather and climate-watchers in the Golden State. Stay tuned!”

It’s a fascinating read with some interesting animated graphics. I suggest you go take a look, then bookmark this guy, and/or sign up for email notifications. He only blogs about once a month, but that may increase as we approach the end of summer.