El Niño update

Brian Bledsoe, Southern Livestock Standard

August 4, 2023

el nino

Time to check in on our old friend, and see what he is up to… The graphic below shows current sea surface temperature anomalies.

A couple of things to note, before I show you what it looked like earlier this year: 1) The warmest water in the ENSO region is centered off the west coast of South America. 2) The northern Pacific Ocean has plenty of warmth too… 3) Some lingering colder than average water is still present off the Baja to near Hawaii. Now, were these things present a few months ago? Let’s see what it looked like on May 8th.

You can see that the northern Pacific Ocean wasn’t nearly as warm, and a very pronounced area of colder than average water existed off the west coast of the US. Also, the ENSO region wasn’t as warm as it is now… Bottom-line, the regions of interest have warmed quite a bit, and will likely continue to warm in the coming months.

How strong will this El Niño get? While that is always uncertain, here is a look at our latest computer model forecast.

All of those lines represent the various models forecasting the strength and duration of the El Niño. The simple message? El Niño will likely be at least of moderate strength and likely last through the upcoming winter. 

Historically, El Niño invigorates the southern branch of the jet stream, and keeps the southern tier of the country wetter and colder than average. La Niña, which we dealt with prior, usually does the opposite. See the graphic below…

The latest seasonal computer model information updates in a little under a week. It will be interesting to see what it says, and that will be the topic of the next article.

Southern Livestock

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