El Nino Is Dead (Mostly)

Today CPC (Climate Prediction Center) officially pulled the plug on the possibility of El Nino this winter.  From late spring through summer, climate models tried to develop a moderate strength El Nino for the fall and winter.  El Nino is a warming of the equatorial Pacific, La Nina is cooling.  The whole package is ENSO (El Nino-Southern Oscillation). 

The equatorial Pacific did indeed warm during the summer to marginal El Nino conditions, but then it stalled and actually cooled back closer to normal.   The main region used to determine the status of ENSO is called Nino 3.4.  Here’s a chart of all the ENSO regions over the past year:

You notice the 3.4 region warms, then cools close to normal recently (right side).  Officially, El Nino conditions are  0.5 or higher in this region.  So it was marginal in the summer, but is definitely now on the warm side of “neutral” and it appears that will continue the next couple of months, which is all that matters for our winter. 

So what does it mean for this winter?  Well, out of the last 3 official neutral winters (2008/2009,  2003/2004,  & 2001/2002) two saw significant ice/snow storms here in the Portland Metro Area.  Now many would argue 2008-2009 was a La Nina winter since it was right on the line between La Nina and neutral.  Good point, only adds to the mystery if you ask me.  If you take the 3 neutral winters before that you find 2 more years in which we had some good snow/ice action.

About a month ago, I looked much farther back in history to see what kind of winters we have had when we have weak El Ninos or neutral years that are on the warm side (like this coming winter).  I saved that very detailed post as a tab.  Click on WINTER 2012-2013 THOUGHTS up above.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

162 Responses to El Nino Is Dead (Mostly)

  1. runrain says:

    @NWSNewYorkNY: KOKX radar continues to be out of service.

    Guess they’ll have to erect a new one…

  2. How many of you use or are familiar with MADIS
    (M)eteorological (A)ssimilation (D)ata (I)ngest (S)ystem
    I use this website most commonly to track Arctic air masses up in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories, Alaska, and as well over in Siberia.

    You may find it useful, so I’d bookmark this one.

  3. Danny in Troutdale says:

    I want snow. Period.

  4. *BoringOregon* says:

    Looks like up North in Alaska, is cold. Was watching the, weather channel and they where saying some thing like, -11 man that’s cold hope that’s not coming her in the future.

  5. chris s says:

    good lord that would be alot of rain in the extended period according to gfs.!! And its not exactly a chilly rain either. 😦 when oh when will the ski resorts open?

  6. paulbeugene says:

    Not much change in my overall thinking…not sure if Timberline opening will really count for anything. Overall pattern over next two weeks is trough in G of AK with interior AK and Yukon remaining on cold side of vortex. Looking at the GFS operational 12Z run it looks as if things gradually cool down to the extent that we get snow down to pass elevation. Ensemble run this morning suggests it will be marginal at best for sustained/significant snow at pass elevation.
    There is persistent ridging between 160W and dateline, with less undercutting energy/moisture than previously indicated, so I think windstorm chances are rather low, arctic air chances lower still.
    Basically variably drizzly/wet over the next two weeks with a very good chance of no frost or freeze.

    • gidrons says:

      That dateline ridge has been persistent the last two December/January periods. I wonder what’s causing it to consistently build in that area.

  7. Kyle says:

    I bet Feb is going to have a lot of east winds which don’t do much for me except allow temps to drop to the upper teens at night under the right conditions.

    Who needs Artic air! Just give me a good east wind setup and the temps plunge like the Titanic after splitting apart at the seams.

    • W7ENK says:

      Umm, Kyle? If those East winds of yours aren’t driven by arctic air, your temperature would likely skyrocket into the 60s — even in February.

      Please screen for BTK errors before you post. At least you spelled “seams” properly, thank you for that! 🙂

    • Kyle has Asperger’s syndrome and I look, I don’t know if that plays any role in his spelling although that shouldn’t matter anyhow, but lay off him. It isn’t yours nor my job to correct him or anyone.

    • W7ENK says:

      No no, I wasnt correcting his spelling, quite to the contrary actually, I was complimenting him on spelling “seams” correctly for the context in which he used it. Being the Grammar Nazi that I am, I see all too often where people misuse the word “seems” in that context, rather than “coming apart at the seams”. There’s a big difference, and Kyle got it right! 🙂

      As for my rebuttal on his east wind analysis, I believe that is fair game here, correct?

    • gidrons says:

      @Erik, what’s a BTK error?

    • W7ENK says:

      BTK error is a computer geek term for an error in operator logic.

      BTK = Brain To Keyboard.

      Also sometimes referred to as BKAC, Between Keyboard And Chair.


    • W7ENK says:

      Hahaha!!! I guess BKAC would have been more appropriate in this case?


  8. Looks like we could be getting into a big dump in the mtns. starting late this weekend.

  9. bgb41 says:

    11/12/2012 Oregon (All) Temperature Summary

    High:61 at Tillamook( 63 ft)
    Low: 52 at DW2345 Toledo(43 ft) & BANDON(79 ft) & KB7QWZ Garibaldi(10 ft) & DW1265 Newport(164 ft) & Gold Beach(16 ft)

    High:22 at ANTELOPE(6460 ft)
    Low: 15 at ANTELOPE (6460 ft )

    Largest Diurnal Change: 21 degrees
    DW9301 Klamath F (52/31 ) (4121 ft )

    Heaviest Rainfall:
    2.40″ at NORTH FORK(3120ft)
    1.93″ at WANDERER’S PEAK(4350ft)

  10. 18z GFS
    Extracted Data
    I think we’re about to see the models turn more active including fun la-la land teases by late week or this weekend. Don’t quote me on that, no wait, go ahead.

    Erik Holm, you are being requested to Brian’s Fox 12 Blog Discussions Facebook group.

  11. paulbeugene says:

    This is the updated CFSv2 link (December is now month 1 rather than month 2).

  12. WEATHERDAN says:

    Last winter wasn’t too bad. But I would like too see at least one good sized snowstorm and arctic outbreak this winter. Will we see one. I think we will.

    • W7ENK says:

      I think we will get the arctic cold in here, but I don’t think snow is in the cards for the Willamette Valley lowlands/Portland area. No, I have a feeling that when we look back on this coming winter when all is said and done, ice will be the one thing that sticks out in everyone’s memory – that terrible ice storm we had!

    • Kyle says:

      And lots of east wind in Feb though not for me which will allow temps down to 20F or even upper teens if the cards hold out!

      Who cares about Artic air! 🙂 East winds do just as good of a job for me.

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