Aug 152015
 
Share on Facebook13Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someoneShare

It’s like a Godzilla movie. Will the current El Nino be the biggest of all time? Will California ever recover from their drought? Is this the Godzilla of all El Ninos.

Global sea surface temperature anomaly animation, August 5, 2015. From Climate Prediction Center.

Global sea surface temperature anomaly animation, August 5, 2015. From Climate Prediction Center.

Just today, a friend of mine shared a post on Facebook that referred to the current El Nino as the “Godzilla” of El Ninos. Granted this El Nino is strong. But, it isn’t completely on-track to be  bigger than the one of 1997-1998. You can read details at Bob Tisdale’s website: August 2015 ENSO Update – Another Westerly Wind Burst in Late July Should Help El Niño Evolve. The El Nino of 2014-2015 did not quite cool off. More westerly wind bursts have caused more robust El Nino conditions. Normally, this should bode well for a strong winter precipitation pattern in the Southwest.

Enter the Blob. Since about 2013, there has been a phenomenon called “The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge.” This area of high pressure has hung around off the West Coast of the US. It has blocked the normal winter jet stream from bringing storms to California, and often parts of the Southwest. While Flagstaff is looking very healthy for precipitation by the year-to-date or water year since September, the core of last winter was dry. One of the results of the ridge is the Blob of warm water off the West Coast. This ridge of high pressure could be very significant for the upcoming winter.

High pressure can alter, or block, the flow of the jet stream, and the storm track. One of the key features of El Nino is that the normal single winter storm jet stream splits into two jet streams; northern and southern. The southern jet stream brings the storms to Northern Arizona and most of the Southwest in the winter. Also, the normal flow in the Northern Hemisphere around high pressure is clockwise. Depending on the position and strength of The Ridiculously Resilient Ridge, this could block the flow of winter storms, Potentially driving them further south and east.

Alternatively, if the ridge breaks down, the warm water would add to the moisture supply to the Southwest.

Sigh…

The current outlook for next winter, December-February, from the Climate Prediction Center is going with the standard El Nino outlook.

Precipitation outlook for December 2015-February 2015. from the Climate Prediction Center.

Precipitation outlook for December 2015-February 2015. from the Climate Prediction Center.

I think they did the same things last year around this time. In a little while, probably sometime in September, the National Weather Service in Flagstaff will provide a slide set that shows that El Nino does not mean a guaranteed wetter than normal winter.

Sigh!

But, this part is unusual for an El Nino year, the December-February outlook for temperature is different from a typical El Nino. The outlook below shows below average temperatures. Typically, El Nino winters are warmer and wetter than normal.

 

Temperature outlook for December 2015-February 2016. From the Climate Prediction Center.

Temperature outlook for December 2015-February 2016. From the Climate Prediction Center.

Sign!!!

So, I am watching. I am wondering. I don’t think the experts even know. Blob versus El Nino…stay tuned.

***********************************************************************************************************

For more on the Blob, I recommend reading the post August 2015 Update for the Blob at Bob Tisdale’s website. He is an expert on sea surface temperatures.

For more on the outlooks, follow the links above and you can find the discussions supporting the long-range outlooks at the Climate Prediction Center.

Share on Facebook13Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn0Email this to someoneShare

[suffusion-the-author]

[suffusion-the-author display='description']
 Posted by at 10:52 am

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

3 visitors online now
0 guests, 3 bots, 0 members
Max visitors today: 6 at 07:12 am UTC
This month: 21 at 05-04-2017 08:12 pm UTC
This year: 86 at 03-09-2017 03:59 pm UTC
All time: 1611 at 04-27-2012 06:53 pm UTC