Tuesday, April 12, 2016

La Niña Watch announced by the Bureau of Meteorology

Sou | 9:02 PM Go to the first of 9 comments. Add a comment
Although El Niño is still in effect, the latest ENSO wrap-up from the Bureau of Meteorology has put La Niña into watch status. The Bureau says that there's now a 50% chance of a La Niña developing later this year.

The model outlooks are shown below. The average is above the threshold for La Niña but some are dropping below. We're still in autumn which is when modeled projections are especially iffy (a meteorological term meaning things could change):

This is the overview report from BoM:
While the 2015–16 El Niño remains at weak to moderate levels, recent changes in the tropical Pacific Ocean and atmosphere, combined with current climate model outlooks, suggest the likelihood of La Niña forming in 2016 has increased to around 50%. As a result, the Bureau's ENSO Outlook status has moved to La Niña WATCH.

Temperatures below the Pacific Ocean surface have declined since late 2015, with all but the top 50 metres now cooler than normal. At the sea surface, temperatures have cooled by over 1 °C since their peak, but remain warmer than average and still at El Niño levels. The Southern Oscillation Index and trade winds also show clear signs that El Niño is in decline. The SOI has recently risen to near-neutral levels, while trade winds are near normal. However some indicators, such as cloudiness near the Date Line, have shown only a limited shift away from El Niño patterns.

International climate models suggest El Niño will continue to weaken during the southern autumn, returning to neutral levels by mid-2016. By spring, five of the eight surveyed models suggest La Niña is likely, with three remaining neutral. ENSO forecasts made at this time of year tend to have lower accuracy than at other times, with a clearer picture to emerge over the coming months.


  1. I'm hoping against hope that things swing away from El Niño and stay swung away from it.

    The Great Barrier Reef and reefs off NW Australia are currently being devastated by coral bleaching, and the longer the water remains anomalously warm the more severe will be the damage.

    It's a pipe-dream to imagine that things will right themselves in the arena of corals, though. These bleaching events are an indication that reefs are suffering, and have been sufering for several decades, and the frequency and the trajectory of these events indicate an ecosystem type that is being lost. Many commentators have spoken about the end of the 21st century as a marker for when we might see significant lost of reef ecosystems, but I will stick my neck out and say that much irreversible damage will be seen in the next 20-30 years.

    And I suspect that if we haven't significantly weaned ourselves off fossil carbon by 2030, the world's tropical reefs will be pretty much condemned to almost total destruction no matter what humans do after.

    1. Let's all pause to note that all this is taking place under the auspices of 'the World's Best Minister' - non-'Strayans, I kid you not! - as is the approval of the putative world's biggest thermal coal project, which will damage the reef directly in a very real physical sense AND via emissions.

      This, ahem, 'Environment' Minister is just one small feature that attests that our current government is beyond the reach of satire. But actual results like this ain't funny...

    2. When Hunt shot his mouth off the other day about how Attenborough's doco showed there was nothing to worry about, I couldn't help thinking that the only worthwhile response would be a brick directly to the teeth.

      These clowns simply either have no idea and/or don't give a shit.

  2. I think the PDO will more interesting to watch. The March number is in at 2.40. That's a high level, and it looks like there is plenty of headroom.

    1. Agree - it supports the idea that the PDO has moved into a warm phase. The people who think/hope that there will be a repeat of post 1998 El Nino may be disappointed.


      While I'm also hoping against hope for a reprieve for the coral reefs, the evidence suggests that's a slim hope.

    2. JCH, Sou

      Agreed. Worth watching closely. I was expecting the coral bleaching but the extent of damage to GBR is horrifying. This really is the beginning of the end for most corals, IMO.

      For the thread, the link to monthly PDO data is here:


    3. The odd thing about their take on the prolonged La Nina after 1988, by the end of 2005 the 30-year warming trend was much higher. Their investment in their nonsense is so bankrupt they'll settle for any whisper of a reprieve. Professor Curry still expects a stadium wave. Despite the great big blue blow off southern Greenland, the AMO also ticked up in March. Looks to me like it cannot really go negative. What do you call a 60-year cycle that has a 30-year positive phase followed by another 30-year positive phase?

    4. What do you call a 60-year cycle that has a 30-year positive phase followed by another 30-year positive phase?

      A unicorn fart.

  3. Just flew over the GBR today
    and my thoughts are similar to
    those above by Bernard J.
    The time has really come to
    stop faffing around and move
    hard and fast to economies that
    are sustainable and in harmony
    with our biosphere.
    Li D Cairns,Australia


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