I do respect a lot of the services out there, however some of the dialogue about El Nino coming in the Spring and some services saying no La Nina is coming in the Spring is so premature, given we have a La Nina phase waning.
The weather does not care about statistics, for example - we have had 2 La Ninas so therefore we get an El Nino. If only humans would understand that our small minds can never ever fully understand the larger weather brain over our heads, then this would save a lot of pain and suffering for those who plan according to this principal.
So when do we find out about the ENSO for the back half of the year?
Well that does not happen until July into August. Last year I got pilloried for calling a La Nina back in July 2021 (many agencies were going El Nino based off the principal above), that was based off significant data scouring and looking at the weather patterns in real time and how the global weather patterns were unfolding. So you won't get me putting out more detailed forecasts and more specific impacts until then, you do get guidance as to where things are heading as you saw with the Winter Outlook posted yesterday.
Responsible forecasting is understanding that the further you go out in the distance, the poorer the data sets and confidence in those. Anyone telling you otherwise....well you know what I think about that.
So lets take a look at the guide from the climate modeling from reputable sources and see where things are going.
DISCUSSION POINTS AND DATA
PREVIOUS NINO EVENTS - Past 50 Years.
There most certainly is a pattern when it comes to the ENSO region. Newtons Laws of physics talks about for every action there is a reaction and we see that play out in the ENSO region. So as you can see there is a relative even spread of El Nino events vs La Nina events across the past 5 decades. Looking at this chart below you would think we should be heading towards El Nino in the next phase later this year....hence the assumptions for the end of the year. It is conceivable that we could see an El Nino but conversely we could see a Neutral phase or La Nina phase. No one knows....
We have had in the past seen triple dip La Nina phases. This happens every 30 years or so and we could be on the cusp of that occurring this time around later this year. I have circled the periods when the cooling of the ENSO region as been below the neutral threshold for more than a 2 year stretch. So if you want to use statistics as a forecasting guide (not great forecasting) then you could equally say that we are due for another La Nina. So you can see you can fit any of the data sets to suit your argument.
Looking at La Nina waning through the coming 6 weeks and neutral status should be achieved from Easter. This was the January Outlook and you can see the outliers from the model sets. But sticking with the averages, the data supports a slow easing of the La Nina. This was the January Outlook and stays neutral through Spring 2022.
This is the February Outlook from the data sets and no real change from the guide, still have the two outliers. The ENSO still continues to show a neutral run through Spring 2022 and into early Summer 2022/23 which is the same as what we saw this time last year. So for the record, the guidance is very normal to show neutral conditions but we will likely see more confidence in the direction we are going once we lose La Nina. Once the La Nina has resolved, then we can see the impacts the event has had on the Pacific Ocean as a whole.
I have circled the seasons here, you can see once La Nina goes, we stay neutral! And that is the right forecast for now. That phase at this time of year means little impact on the weather moving forward.
Another way of looking at the the data sets is in this graphical format. Clearly the risk of El Nino has eased since the last update, with La Nina the second most likely outcome but Neutral ENSO looks to be the idea on the table. Does it mean it could stay neutral the whole way through? NO! But to suggest an El Nino based off the data sets here which are the most palatable to take in is wrong and to suggest a La Nina based off this data for Spring 2022 into Summer 2022/23 is also wrong! Offering a phase either way against a neutral outlook is not correct. The data sets lured the forecasters in hook line and sinker when the risk of El Nino began to increase, but that was waaaaaaay to premature.
We have seen in the latest update from February that the risk of El Nino has reduced and the La Nina chances have come up but that does not mean anything more than neutral outcome for ENSO as that is the most likely outcome off the climate models.
These are the key points covered off in the video - please be aware that the longer term forecasting has it's place but you have to cross check that with the short and medium term forecasts including my 6 week outlooks. Too many voices creates confusion so I suggest sticking to a few agencies, one or two reputable apps, not the crap apps and making sure you cross check the information before making any major decisions down the line. There has to be responsibility on both sides. The forecasting as you go further out becomes flawed more and more so be aware of that. Weather forecasting is gambling, especially the further out you go. My stance for the coming months when we lose La Nina is for Neutral conditions. My forecasts become more specific as we move into mid Winter.
More details coming up on the 6 week outlook from tomorrow morning, make sure you cross check these longer term outlooks with the shorter term data to ensure you are getting relevant information and fresh information.