Solar cycle low, El Nino Watch is on 

Posted: 8:33 am Monday, September 24th, 2018

By Kirk Mellish

Two of the big picture earth-sun-atmosphere-ocean system items we look at for long-range weather trends are the solar sunspot cycle and the ENSO (El Nino-La Nina).

So far the El Nino signals continues to be weak and is projected to remain so, and it looks like a Central Pacific focused El Nino.

West or central based ENSO events tend to feature colder U.S. winters than East based or basin-wide El Nino events.

figure4-2Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 7.15.28 AM

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Currently near-neutral but a weak event is expected.

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Different flavors of El Nino:

EAST BASED                         CENTRAL+EAST                           CENTRAL PAC

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The El Nino Modoki or Central based type favors a Ridge West Trough East U.S polar jet stream pattern.


Sunspot energy is down to levels last seen in the previous solar minimum that started around 2007.



Some research shows that low solar is correlated with a negative -NAO/-AO:

Where the winter ends up on ENSO, AO/NAO and QBO and how strong they end up will determine how the winter plays out. The A0/NAO can only be forecast a couple weeks out so they’re always a wild card. The QBO is also elusive and does not always behave the way we think it will.

AO and NAO and winter temps

The QBO (Quasi biennial oscillation) is currently in an Easterly phase:

Screen Shot 2018-09-24 at 6.58.10 AMScreen Shot 2018-09-24 at 6.58.45 AM

That also correlates to Ridge West Trough East +PNA type pattern in winter as seen above.

The CFSv2 is having none of that though, as it projects a stronger and more widespread El Nino with a tilt toward an East-based event and it shows a warm winter:


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