16 November 2015
The 2015 El Nino continues to be one of the strongest ever measured and the weekly temperatures this week have passed the 1997 event, which was the strongest on record. The El Nino index is based on a running average, so technically this El Nino has not passed the 97 event, but we now have a new record of warm water in the area, where El Nino is measured. The graph below from Meteorologist Jan Null shows how this year and the 97 event compare.
With ocean temps. that warm, it looks very possible that the 2015 El Nino will be the biggest on record. There are some signs that this 2015 event might turn into a type of El Nino called an El Nino Modoki, which brings rather different weather to North America than a classic El Nino does. Also, keep in mind that there are notable differences between sea water temps. around the world in 1997 versus today, so the impacts of this El Nino may still be markedly different from the 1997 event. We also cannot ignore the fact that for much of the country, especially the Eastern Seaboard, other large scale pressure patterns can have far more influence on our winter. We also have limited data on how these interact with a strong El Nino event.
It’s going to be a fascinating winter…