Weather Geeks Interview re El Niño Misconceptions

Weather Geeks Interview re El Niño Misconceptions

 

Last month I did an interview with Dr. J. Marshall Shepard on The Weather Channel's "Weather Geeks" show about El Niño Misconceptions. It has been posted online here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15REf4BqRQo&feature=youtu.be

The source of much of the information in that interview can be found at http://ggweather.com/enso/enso_myths.htm .

Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services
http://ggweather.com

 

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Monthly El Niño Analysis: Beware December!

Monthly El Niño Analysis: Beware December!

 

To date, much of the retrospective analysis of California rainfall during El Niño rainfall seasons has been looking at the teleconnections between seasonal totals and the strength of the El Niño events.  This analysis focused on monthly rainfall anomalies across California; and in doing so the biggest takeaway was that December during both strong and very strong events was historically drier than normal across most of the state north of the Tehachapis.



For a complete month-by-month and station analyses go to http://ggweather.com/enso/monthly/ .

Other El Niño resources can be found at http://ggweather.com/enso.htm .

Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services
http://ggweather.com

 

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Would the amount of rain in the Carolina’s this past week be enough to end the California Drought? Not even close!

Would the amount of rain in the Carolina’s this past week be enough to end the California Drought? Not even close!

 

Several recent news reports have stated that the rain that fell over North and South Carolina this past week would be enough to erase the California drought. this was based on comparing an estimated 11 trillion gallons that the Carolinas received this past week to an amount from a NASA study that also used an 11 trillion gallon figure needed for California.  However the numbers don’t add up.

It’s been estimated that the average rainfall that fell across the Carolinas was 10.4 inches.  With a total area for North and South Carolina of about 85,000 square miles that actually equates to about 15.5 trillion gallons.  [Specifically 1” of water over 1 sq. mile= 17,378,560 gallons; times 10.4” of rain, times 85,839 sq. miles equals 15,514,285,403,136 gallons]

Now, looking at California. The statewide average rainfall for California is about 24 inches, and in round numbers the 4-year rainfall deficit is approximately a year’s worth of rainfall. Given the total California area of over 163,000 square miles that’s a phenomenal 68 trillion gallon deficit, or over four times the rain that fell on the Carolinas!  [Specifically 1” over 1 sq. mile= 17,378,560 gallons, times 24” of rain, times 163,694 sq. miles equals 68,274,384,015,360 gallons]

Some of the confusion arises from last December's NASA study that had a headline of "Needed: 11 Trillions Gallons to Replenish California Drought".  However, reading the entire article reveals the 11 trillion gallon amount was for only the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins. And finally, it should be noted that to "end the drought" in some areas of California it may take more than a year's worth and in other areas less.

Update (10/9): Please note the rainfall amounts for California (above) are only to make up the deficit. To "end the drought" we would need to make up most of teh deficit, PLUS the normal rainfall of the winter of 2015-16, or another 24 inches.  Bottom line, we would be looking at as much 8 times the rains that flooded the Carolinas.


Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services
http://ggweather.com 






 

 

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El Niño Circulation Reanalysis; September Summary; Worldwide AQI

El Niño Circulation Reanalysis; September Summary; Worldwide AQI

 

Here's a reanalysis of the 500 mb heights, height anomalies and the precipitable water anomalies for the strong and very strong El Niño winters (Nov-Mar). See http://ggweather.com/enso/reanalysis/ These really brought back my recollections from 1997-98 of the nearly continuous zonal flow across the Pacific, and the models being consistently too slow with the embedded short-waves.

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Not surprisingly, September was warmer than normal statewide while precipitation ranged from negligible to epic (Los Angeles, 996% of normal). But the Southern California rainfall must be kept in perspective as normal in LA for September is on 0.24". See  http://ggweather.com/calif/sep2015.htm 

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Interesting website with near-real-time Air Quality Index (AQI) values color-coded world-wide.  http://aqicn.org/here/ 


Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services
http://ggweather.com 

 

 

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Recent El Niño Background Articles/Papers

Current El Niño Background Resources

 

A number of excellent and timely articles/papers about El Niño have been posted in the past few weeks, and I have collected some of them below. There is lots of other great stuff out there so please drop me a note if there is something I have missed.

IRI - September Climate Briefing: More Confidence than Ever


NOAA - United States El Niño Impacts


NCAR - Watch 2015 and 1997 El Niños Build, Side-by-Side


NOAA Climate Office - What can drought-stricken California expect from the El Niño winter forecast?,

NOAA Climate Office - California Drought Assessment

Commentaries about the"blob"
Cliff Mass (UWash) - Godzilla El Nino Versus The BLOB: Who Will Win?

Weather West -  Record-strength El Niño likely to bring wet winter to California in midst of worst drought on record 


Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services
http://ggweather.com






 

 

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Butte and Valley Fire Weather Links

Fire Weather Links

 

In response to numerous requests for weather information in regards to the Valley and Butte Fires, here are some fire weather resources:

Fire Weather Forecasts:  NWS Sacramento Fire Wx Forecasts  (Valley Fire CAZ507, Butte Fire CAZ267 & CAZ220)

Current observations:  http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/map/?obs=true&wfo=sto 

Other Fire Weather Links:  http://ggweather.com/firewx.htm 

Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services
http://ggweather.com






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Warm August Caps Warm Summer Over Most of California - Lots of SF Records

Warm August Caps Warm Summer Over Most of California - Lots of SF Records

 

Most major cities across California had warmer than normal maximum and minimum temperatures both for August and for entire summer (i.e., June, July, August). 

August saw average monthly maxima ranging from rigth at normal  at Fresno to 3.7 above normal at San Franciso and 4.2 above normal at San Diego. Only San Jose was cooler than normal with a  -0.2 degree anomaly.  The average monthly minima had even warmer anomalies.  San Francisco's average monthly minimum was 5.1 degrees above normal, with the 60.2 degrees smashing the previous record of 58.2 set just last year. Elsewhere average monthly minima were  1.4 (Fresno) to 3.7 (Los Angeles) degrees above normal.  See http://ggweather.com/calif/aug2015.htm 

Summer (JJA) was also almost universally warmer than normal, again with San Jose being the outlier. Redding was the warmest with a summertime maximum anomaly of 4.2 degrees above normal, followed by San Diego at 3.0 above normal.   Redding and San Francisco had the warmest June-July-August average minimum anomalies with +4.8 and +3.7 degrees respectively.  http://ggweather.com/calif/summer2015.htm 

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San Francisco's warm August saw 16 new daily records.  A new record max of 90 degrees was set on August 16th. But it was the 15 new or tied record high minimums that were pretty eye-catching. See the just updated SF Daily Almanac at http://ggweather.com/sf/almanac.html#August  for details.

Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services
http://ggweather.com




 

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Don't Blame It On El Niño

Don't Blame It On El Niño

 

.
I took this picture of humpback whales lunge feeding Monday near Moss Landing, CA. But it's NOT because of El Niño!

Though given the number of media linkages of El Niño to just about every marine animal story along the California coast the mythology has taken on a life of it's own.  There continues to be the misconception that because El Niño has something to do with warmer than normal somewhere in the Pacific AND waters along the California coast are warmer than normal THEN they are related.  They are not!

The current warm water anomalies along the California coast first showed up in February 2014 but the tropical Pacific (i.e., Niño 3.4 region) did not reach minimal El Niño strength until November 2014. 

[link to animated GIF of above image]

And this is not unique to this El Niño. Historical SST records of northern and central California SST anomalies show that during the five strong and very strong  El Niño events (1957-58, 1965-66, 1972-73, 1982-83, 1997-98) only two were warmer than normal.  And along the southern California coast, three of the five were about normal.

Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services

 

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Updated El Niño Forecast Models Get Even Stronger

Updated Niño Models Get Even Stronger

 

The updated forecast models for El Niño Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (SSTA) from IRI/CPC have gotten even stronger.  Last month's average of the 17 dynamic models had the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) peaking at 2.2 in the October/November/December (OND) period and now they are forecast to peak at 2.5 in OND and stay there through NDJ. If these numbers verify, then we are looking at SSTA's that rival 1997-98 and 1982-83.

Even with all the usual caveats about no guarantees, this trend is very encouraging for a continuing increase in the chances of above normal precipitation in California. Additional El Niño related links can be found at the El Niño / La Niña Resource Page.  Stay Tuned.  

Jan Null, CCM
Golden Gate Weather Services


 
 


 

 

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