Tuesday, April 7, 2015

El Nino leans in

I've written several times about the record-breaking "pause" in El Nino events, which occupied most of 2010 and all of 2011, 2012, and 2013 and continued until the last few months of 2014.

The "pause" lasted 54 months (or rather, 54 three-month averages) which was the longest since NOAA began keeping records, and by a good bit. The runner-up "pause" is 1959-63, 51 months.

This Nino started out anemic and is still, as yet, pretty weak sauce, with a Tmax of +0.7C. For a while it looked as though it might fade out before qualifying as an El Nino (which requires 5 months at or above +0.5C) or might just hit that mark before fading away. And indeed, +0.7C was last seen two months ago and we are presenting clinging to the lower bound of El Nino (+0.5C for the first 3 months of this year.)

But the thing is perking up. This week we're back to +0.7C for the weekly numbers, and the forecasters seem to be coming around to the notion that the event will continue to strengthen:

If the El Nino does strengthen in this way, obviously 2015 could very well break the record set by 2014. And if it is still strong going into 2016, the first part of that year may be very hot as well.

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