November Warmer Than Past El Nino Events

While we have one of the strongest El Niño events occurring in the Pacific Ocean basin right now, the effect on November temperatures is typically quite chilly. Looking at the past 5 strong El Niño events since 1950, November was colder-than-average in three events (1972, 1982, and 1997), average in one event (1957), and warmer-than average in one event (1965).

Here is how this year stacks up to the monthly temperature departures from the 1982-83 and 1997-98 events. As you can see (circled), November 1982 was slightly below average (-0.4 degrees) while November 1997 was well below average (-3.9 degrees). This November so far is 5.9 degrees above average.

In the last two big events, the above-average temperatures did not appear until December, January, and February. So what does it mean if this November is unlike 1982 and 1997? It just means that no two El Niño events behave in exactly the same way.

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Click to enlarge.

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2 thoughts on “November Warmer Than Past El Nino Events

  1. I agree with your concluding sentence. But could it also mean that there are interactions going on out there that are not well understood or reliably predictable?

  2. There are certainly other factors involved with each of these El Nino events. I would say that the NWS nailed it so far on their November forecast this year.

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