El Niño Is Coming: Here's What To Expect

Tyler Durden's picture

Back in March, when looking for the next great economic scapegoat, we wrote "Goodbye Polar Vortex; Hello Solar Vortex - El Nino Is Coming", because as everyone knows by now, in a centrally-planned world, in which the present always disappoints and the rigged market is driven purely by the overly optimistic future forecasts for five years in a row now (despite the rosy future never, ever materializing in the form of a better than expected present), any deviation from what is "priced to perfection" has to be promptly explained away, usually with such ridiculous gimmicks as the weather, i.e. snow in the winter, hot summers, balmy springs and so on.

Two months later, the Bank of Japan confirmed precisely what we knew would happen when it said it is set to blame El Nino for the upcoming spending collapse (which apparently has nothing to do with the utter failure of Abenomics, or the recession japan Now finds itself in following the sales tax hike earlier this year).

Idiot central-planner and economist "justifications" for always being wrong aside, the reality is that El Nino is on its way even if the slowdown in the economy will be due to every other factor except the weather (start with the Fed) which just so happens is a "recurring" event. So upcoming GDP collapse (that nobody could have foreseen earlier, nobody, certainly not the Fed) notwithstanding, here is what one should really expect as a result of the unique weather formation which whose temperature and precipitation impacts across the United States occur during the cold half of the year, from October through March.

From Climate.gov

United States El Niño Impacts

By this point, most of you have heard that it looks like El Niño is coming, and maybe you’re wondering why you should care.  After all, why should it matter if the tropical Pacific Ocean becomes warmer than average? That’s thousands of miles away from the continental United States.  Well, it turns out that El Niño often results in changes in the patterns of precipitation and temperature across many parts of the globe, including North America (Ropelewski and Halpert 1987, Halpert and Ropelewski 1992).

Many folks probably remember the heavy rainfall, flooding, and landslides that occurred in California in 1982/83 and again in 1997/98. As the region suffers through a devastating drought, it could be something of a relief if we knew for certain that El Niño would bring similar soaking rains. But those two events were the 2 strongest El Niños in the past 60 years, and we’ve seen many other El Niño years where California didn’t experience those types of devastating impacts. So assuming El Niño develops, what can we expect across the United States and when can we expect it?

By examining seasonal climate conditions in previous El Niño years, scientists have identified a set of typical impacts associated with the phenomenon (Figure 1). “Associated with” doesn’t mean that all of these impacts happen during every El Niño episode. However, they happen more often during El Niño than you’d expect by chance, and many of them have occurred during many El Niño events.


Figure 1. Average location of the Pacific and Polar Jet Streams and typical temperature and precipitation impacts during the winter over North America. Map by Fiona Martin for NOAA Climate.gov.


In general, El Niño-related temperature and precipitation impacts across the United States occur during the cold half of the year (October through March). The most reliable of these signals (the one that has been observed most frequently) is wetter-than-average conditions along the Gulf Coast from Texas to Florida during this 6-month period. This relationship has occurred during more than 80% of the El Niño events in the past 100 years.  

In Southern California and U.S. Southwest, strength matters

Over California and the Southwest, the relationship between El Niño and above-average precipitation is weaker, and it depends significantly on the strength of the El Niño. The stronger the episode (i.e., the larger the sea surface temperature departures across the central equatorial Pacific are), the more reliable the signal in this region has been.

For instance, during the two strongest events in the past 60 years (1982/83 and 1997/98), much-above-median rainfall amounts fell across the entire state of California. Median or above-median precipitation was recorded over the entire state during strong episodes in both 1957/58 and 1972/73 (Figure 2). However, strong events in 1991/92 and 2009/10 only provided small surpluses in the southern part of the state, while precipitation during 1965/66 was generally average to below-average across the state.

Figure 2. Difference from average (1981-2010) winter precipitation (December-February) in each U.S. climate division during strong (dark gray bar), moderate (medium gray), and weak (light gray) El Niño events since 1950. Years are ranked based on the maximum seasonal ONI index value observed. During strong El Niño events, the Gulf Coast and Southeast are consistently wetter than average. Maps by NOAA Climate.gov, based on NCDC climate division data provided by the Physical Sciences Division at NOAA ESRL.

For weak and moderate strength episodes (Figure 2), the relationship is even weaker, with approximately one-third of the events featuring above-average precipitation, one-third near-average precipitation, and one-third below-average precipitation.  

Elsewhere over the United States, El Niño impacts are associated with drier conditions in the Ohio Valley, and there is a less-reliable dry signal in the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies. Hawaii also often experiences lower-than-average rainfall totals from the late fall through early spring period.

The climate impacts linked to El Niño help forecasters make skillful seasonal outlooks. While not guaranteed, the changes in temperature and precipitation across the United States are fairly reliable and often provide enough lead time for emergency managers, businesses, government officials, and the public to properly prepare and make smart decisions to save lives and protect livelihoods.


Weak El Niño: Episode when the peak Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) is greater than or equal to 0.5°C and less than or equal to 0.9°C.

Moderate El Niño: Episode when the peak Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) is greater than or equal to 1.0°C and less than or equal to 1.4°C.

Strong El Niño: Episode when the peak Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) is greater than or equal to 1.5°C.


Halpert, M.S. and C.F. Ropelewski, 1992: Surface Temperature Patterns Associated with the Southern Oscillation, J. Clim., 5, 577-593.

Ropelewski, C.F. and M.S. Halpert, 1987: Global and Regional Scale Precipitation Patterns Associated with the El Nino/Southern Oscillation, Mon. Wea. Rev., 115, 1606-1626

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
_ConanTheLibertarian_'s picture

Let's HAARP the motherfucker.

Flakmeister's picture

Better talk to Congress about cash to fire it back up...

Not that it would make any difference what so fucking ever...

TahoeBilly2012's picture

Could use some skiing next season, one whol friggin day last year.

AssFire's picture

BFD, our immigration catch and release centers are filled with El Niños.

mkkby's picture

If the economy is weak, blame el nino.  If it's strong Obama/fed will take credit.  The sheeple will nod their heads and believe what ever told.

knukles's picture

Amazing that after reading the whole thread of comments, most or it centers in upon climate change as opposed to the fact that Il Niño is a comin', period.
I for one will be grateful for the rain in my area because I'm sick and tired of the local politicians claiming a drought which, while all over much of CA, does not affect my immediate area.  Just want the politicians to shut the fuck up, global warming by whom or what I do not care as a political solution ain't gonna work any better than any other political solution ever has and they all been abject failures.
I do not need some elected morons telling me about saving the Earth.
The Earth will be here long after man has disappeared into the the winds of history.
And if it is man-made, then FFS, address the root problem of too many people and not the symptoms.

7.62x54r's picture

During the last Il Niño, the Oregon coast warmed to the point where the fishing charters offered tuna and marlin fishing, and you could surf without wetsuits.

As a kid, I rather enjoyed it.

OldPhart's picture

In 73, my itty-bitty, high desert, one horse, no stoplight (and even to this day, no McDonalds, Starbucks or other chain), population 2000 spread out over 250 miles, town received four feet of snow.  It shut down the Victor Valley for about three days, we were shutdown another two...others, out on the dirt roads, had to wait for it to melt.  Normal snow here is maybe an inch or two...lasts long enough to take a picture.

Jack Burton's picture

HAARP is having it's last installation in Alaska turned off in the next few days. Once shut off for good, it is planned to scrap it and bull doze the site. Now then, with all HAARP sites gone, what shall we blame extreme weather events on? Maybe science? Or measurements over time? Nope, I hear "chemtrails" are doing it!

LetThemEatRand's picture

What is most amusing is that many of the same people who blame HAARP (a man made device) for all major weather disruptions and even earthquakes, scoff at the idea that man could affect the climate by pumping out untold tons of shit into the air every day, to the point where they are now selling air in parts of China.  Oh, and they acknowledge that Fukishima (a single nuclear plant) could be a threat to the world.  The common theme?   Libertarians consider the concept of climate change a threat to their God given right to pollute the common air.  They don't own a nuclear plant, and HARRP is the work of government, so it's okay to consider those a threat to humanity.  But climate change from billions of people pumping shit into the air each day?  Shit made up by socialists.

NidStyles's picture

If you knew the first thing about science, you would be aware that what you are supporting is not science.

bag holder's picture

Climate science is a lot like economics. As we know, there's an iron-clad, causative correlation between unemployment and central bank interest rates, except when there's not.

Flakmeister's picture

Climate science has as much in common with the Taylor Rule as the set of all well crafted sophistries has with your post...

Flakmeister's picture

Whereas it would be nice if you knew the first fucking thing about how science really works...

NidStyles's picture

Whereas you have nothing but ad-homs and fallacies.

Tall Tom's picture

What do you expect from a liberal WOMAN?


My mental image of FlakFRAU is that of that ugly cunts Barbara Boxer, Dianne Feinstein, Michelle Obama, Janet Reno, Hillary Clinton, Madelline Albright and Janet Yellen...all morphed into one.


FlakFRAU, Is that why you, FlakFRAU, are so ashamed of being a woman, that you pretend to be a man?


You can console yourself, FlakFRAU, with the line that beauty is just skin deep. But it will not negate the truth that your ugliness is to the bone.


Go lick your own pussy as you are too spineless to write any truth, FlakFRAU.


Nidstyles...Call Ms FlakFRAU a cunt, as Col Klink did yesterfay, and see HER response.

LetThemEatRand's picture

"Look at how you speak to people. That is exactly why I don't work for free. I don't want to live in a world where people like you are the fucking norm. You're pathetic to be around and you hate everything that doesn't support your notions of reality.  This is what absolutism does to people, it turns them into cynical over-judgemental little pre-madonnas such as yourself. You're completely capable of talking all sorts of shit over the internet, but can't spend two seconds to actually treat anyone that disagrees with you civilly. Then people wonder why the world is going to shit, it's because there are too many leeches such as yourself.  If my kind treated your kind with close to the same ridicule, most of you would be dead already. People that think like you have been around for centuries, and are responsible for the majority of the atrocities that have occurred."

-Nidstyles, this thread, 6.15.2014.  Irony at its best.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

I don't think I've ever seen someone's own words used against then so well on here before. Well played. I will say this, I disagree with you on a lot of things, but you do tend to keep it civil, with me at least. Not sure why calling out such hypocrisy got so many down votes.

in4mayshun's picture

No one is denying pollution is affecting the planet you JackHole! We're denying that Carbon dioxide is. And by the way... The crap being dumped into the oceans is going to kill us long before coal plants will. But that doesn't make Al Gore money so you'll never hear about that.

zerozulu's picture

Why no one talks about planting more trees to curb excess CO2???

cbxer55's picture

While they are whacking trees in the Amazon Rain Forest in ever increasing numbers, exactly how many do you plan on planting. I'm not a greenie by any means, but I most definitely know the importance of trees, and rain forest in particular, when it comes to oxygen and converting CO2 to same. Could CO2 be rising because of the below quote, as much as anything else? I think that is mankinds biggest contribution to "global warming", cutting down too damn many trees.

[quote]In 1950, about 15 percent of the Earth’s land surface was covered by rain forest. Today, more than half has already gone up in smoke. In fewer than fifty years, more than half of the world’s tropical rainforests have fallen victim to fire and the chain saw, and the rate of destruction is still accelerating. Unbelievably, more than 200,000 acres of rain forest are burned every day. That is more than 150 acres lost every minute of every day, and 78 million acres lost every year! More than 20 percent of the Amazon rain forest is already gone, and much more is severely threatened as the destruction continues. It is estimated that the Amazon alone is vanishing at a rate of 20,000 square miles a year. If nothing is done to curb this trend, the entire Amazon could well be gone within fifty years.[/quote]


SilverRhino's picture

That's quite all right.  What is the first thing they plant when they convert a bunch of farmland into housing developments around here?   TREES.

The forest band in Texas used to run between Dallas and Ft Worth .... now it extends out beyond Weatherford.     

That's a lot of fucking trees that have been planted in the last 30 years.   


verum quod lies's picture

Some countries, for example the U.S., Sweden, etc. , have more trees now than a century ago. Now, of course the overpopulated, non-European shitholes don't. And, of course, soon neither will we by importing millions of little ninos/parasites. It amazes me how taboo it is to mention the driving force of pollution is more people, and especially those that breed like rats, yet the watermelons of today ('green on the outside, red on the inside') abjectly refuse to make the simple causal link yet focus on scams to lay waste to places with populations that factor that in and prop up and even import to the point of genociding their own populations those that have never given a darn about the environment. Insanity meets suicide.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Why no one talks about planting more trees to curb excess CO2???

If you did that the fraudulent carbon cap and trade would never occur making libtards billions. Your solution is simple and pragmatic.

oddjob's picture

As it gets warmer the tree line naturally creeps north consuming more CO2.

NuckingFuts's picture

I spent a decade working for a nonprofit tree planing org. No I am not some "tree-hugging Lib". Also did a stint in the Peace Corps planting trees in the third world. My comment is this: to often anyone trying to improve the environment is labeled by "some" as a card carrying communist, liberal, environmental nut job. Trying to leave the world in a better place then we found it is not liberal or conservative... Just common sense. We don't have to argue the science of AGW, just try not to be a dick and ruin things. And don't label those without a political agenda. OK rant off.

More trees, less assholes.

nmewn's picture

"Trying to leave the world in a better place then we found it is not liberal or conservative... Just common sense."


As a child of the sixties/seventies, I don't believe anyone has ever argued for dirty air & water. I/we argue against the lies of agenda driven "science" and empowering the state to control not only what goes on outside our homes but what comes in them.

Can we say, mercury in light bulbs was an extremely bad idea? ;-)

NuckingFuts's picture

As usual nmewn, well said. Putting mercury in bulbs but you can't find a good thermometer anywhere = insanity.

nmewn's picture

lol...yes, we'll find a third way through the bullshit.

I have faith in us, not so much "the others" ;-)

Flakmeister's picture

The master of bullshit and deceit strikes again...

So what is a bigger source of mercury in the environment?

A) Used CFL bulbs thrown into the garbage with no attempt to recycle them

B) Coal fired power plants


X) What fraction of CFL bulbs are recycled?

Go ahead tell us....

Blythes Master's picture

Flakingcunt, The breaking of one of these algorean cfl lightbulbs inside your house, according to the ORIGINAL MSDS sheets requires a response from my friends and I on the HAZ-MAT team.

Must suck to be you for being called out for being too cunty tonight. Yet again. :rolling eyes:

Flakmeister's picture

Parroting old nonsense from Rush only shows you are a Hedgetard.... 

Flakmeister's picture

Yep... all the C02 is resulting in acidification of the oceans and could very well result in collapse of the food chain...

You are just another example of an ignorant fucktard at the Hedge demonstrating their complete and utter lack of comprehension, by choice mind you.... 

J Pancreas's picture

Youve either got a small pecker or are a big blubbering vagina. You spew hate and malicious garbage in about every post. Learn how to be civil or head back to your women's empowerment meeting because you dont fit in well here.

LetThemEatRand's picture

I say, dear sir, you have a small pecker and/or are a big blubbering vagina.  

Was that civil enough for you?  I took lessons from you.

dr kill's picture

My dear girl, you should immediately halt commenting here and run to inform your superiors that American growers have been using CO2 generators in their greenhouses for some time now. Apparently 1500 ppm doubles some yields. Do be a dear and run along.

Flakmeister's picture

Sure does, too bad the earth is not ganga grow room...

Jugdish's picture

I'm gonna write president Bama and ask him to shut down all the volcanoes that spew all that naughty air.

aardvarkk's picture

No.  What is most amusing (and dismaying) is when someone is so, so sure of their own convictions that they cannot allow for the possibility that they may be in error.  Like the people who had my mother jamming margarine down my throat instead of butter for my entire childhood because it was "healthy".  Or the people who tried to remove fat from everything because it was evil.  The science is "settled", you know?

I'm currently of the mind that CO2 is a minor factor in whatever may be going on, and that anthropogenic CO2 is a relatively minor component of that (vulcanism and other sources being the rest).  My mind is open to the other possibility, but every time I try to find good data I run into ridiculous shit from "scientists" like extrapolating ring data from a few hundred trees to an entire continent.  Or the time when I looked at the source code released in one of the climategate releases (I'm a software guy) and saw comments in the source code like "Jerry said to add these numbers in here, not sure what they're for".

Nope.  Not buying that particular pile of horse crap.  That's not to say I won't...but they'll have to do better than they have to date.

Oh, and one...JUST ONE...of their models will have to successfully predict climate changes.  None have so far.  They've been badly off.

Now please tell us all how the Kochs are evil and it's Bush's fault.  We're dying to hear it again.

Anusocracy's picture

I like my margarine with extra fluoride.

LetThemEatRand's picture

You see, to me, it's not a poltical issue.  It is a matter of science.  http://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus

To you, it is a political issue.  Therefore you read some Drudge articles that show some scandal involving a few scientists, while ignoring a huge body of work as described in the above link that you won't read. 

It is possible the scientists are wrong.  So what?  So keep on keeping on until what?   Seriously, what proof would be sufficient to allow you to accept the science despite your ideology.  

goldpercent's picture

For the sake of discussion, lets accept the premise of the scientists.

How on earth could we respond to something on such a huge timeline without unintended consequences?

Doesn't that bother you just a little bit?

Why wouldn't the solutions be worse than the problems?

Must we really do something?

LetThemEatRand's picture

"For the sake of discussion, lets accept the premise of the scientists."

What blows my mind is that your question is preceded with this, as if it should be controversial.


goldpercent's picture

Fine, the scientist are correct.  Now on to the discussion assuming you can unblow your mind.  Please, I really am interested in your response.

LetThemEatRand's picture

The question is meaningless.  You are asking if we should do something if we are literally destroying our ecosystem?

The world is not going to do anything about this problem, period.  Yes, there will be some cap and trade bullshit that will make some oligarchs a bunch of money, but none of it will be close to enough to make a dent in the problem.  I engage in this debate soley because the whole issue of ignoring the science is so irritating to me.  Oil and coal companies and oligarchs in general who make money polluting the environment have been spreading propaganda for years that their shit don't stink, and libertarian-minded people suck up the propaganda with a large straw because it fits their worldview.  The reality is that society as a whole will never voluntarily give up the current energy model.   Even if one country did, most would not.  It's not even worth trying in my opinion.   Some day in the future, people struggling with the damage done due to our blind greed and selfishness as a species will look back at us and think we were a bunch of fucking selfish douchebags, and curse us.  Life will go on, but most people will be much worse off than today.  That is our legacy, just as it was the legacy of the last several generations to live beyond our means as a society economically, leading to trillions upon trillions of debts that will crush our economy for the foreseeable future.  Nothing will be done about that either, until the shit hits the fan and people start dying in large numbers.  That's it.