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# Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Downtown Los Angeles Rainfall for the Driest Calendar Years from 1878-2013. Click
Downtown Los Angeles Rainfall
Driest Calendar Years 1878-2013.

Since January 1 Downtown Los Angeles has recorded only 3.60 inches of rain, making it the driest calendar year since recordkeeping began in July of 1877. The previous record of 4.08 inches was set in 1953 and 1947. Downtown Los Angeles averages about 15 inches of rain in a calendar year.

Precipitation composites for years with comparable PD0-AMO indices constructed by Dr. Klaus Wolter of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado appears to have anticipated this year's drought in Southern California. While Oct-Dec anomalies for Southern California were -0.5 to -0.7 SD below the 1895-2000 Longterm Average, Jan-Mar anomalies were -0.1 to -0.3 SD below average. Assuming the anomaly maps to be correlative the drought's stranglehold on Southern California may weaken somewhat over the next three months.

To get an idea of how the precipitation anomaly might vary over the next three months, the US Climate Division Dataset Mapping Page was used to recreate the standardized Oct-Dec precipitation anomaly and Jan-Mar precipitation anomaly maps using the same years as Dr. Wolter's composites. Then standardized composite precipitation anomaly maps were constructed for the months of January, February, and March. Based on these composites some lessening of the severity of the drought in Southern California is suggested throughout the period Jan-Mar with the biggest improvement indicated in March -- except for coastal Southern California. A map showing the composite precipitation anomaly in inches for the period October to March was also generated.

While today's medium range forecasts and 6-10 day and 8-14 day precipitation outlooks aren't particularly encouraging there are some straws to grasp. The AO Index, which has been positive for most of the rainy season is now negative and the Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) is in its first full orbit into positive AAM territory in several months. Whether these changes eventually result in rain for Southern California we'll just have to see.

More information about Southern California weather and climate can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 1:44:12 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Sunday, October 20, 2013

CPC Dec-Jan-Feb Precipitation Outlook Click
CPC Dec-Jan-Feb Precipitation Outlook
Released October 17, 2013.

Updated November 5, 2013. My mistake -- a spreadsheet range error -- thanks for the heads up Reg! The driest January 1 to November 1 for Downtown Los Angeles was in 1972 with 0.92 inch. Here are the driest ten years for that period:

1. 1972 0.92
2. 2002 1.62
3. 1984 1.93
4. 1961 2.37
5. 1971 2.39
6. 1947 2.45
7. 2013 2.78
8. 1894 2.89
9. 1953 2.89
10. 2007 3.37

An energetic upper level low brought the first widespread precipitation of the rain season to Southern California October 9, with rain at the lower elevations and some snow in the local mountains. Rainfall amounts varied widely, ranging from a trace in some areas to over an inch in the mountains.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded only 0.04 inch for the storm, bringing the water year rainfall total to 0.13 inch, which is 0.31 inch below normal. Downtown Los Angeles has recorded only 2.76 inches of rain since January 1. This is one of the driest January 1 - October 20 in Los Angeles over the past 135 years! To get out of the bottom ten for calendar year rainfall Los Angeles needs about 3.5 inches of rain by December 31. Normal rainfall for November is 1.04 inches and for December is 2.33 inches.

For months I've been monitoring climate data and forecasts looking for something on which to base a 2013-14 Winter precipitation Outlook. Historically ENSO has played the major role in Southern California rain season weather, with El Nino conditions generally producing wetter weather and La Nina conditions generally drier. But ENSO conditions are currently Neutral and are expected to remain so through the end of the year.

Most climate models forecast slow warming of SSTs in the equatorial Pacific (NINO 3.4 region) over the next several months, but at this time of the year it would be very unusual to have substantial warming. The CPC/IRI ENSO Forecasts from IRI's October Quick Look indicate the probability of an El Nino developing before the end of the year is less than 20% -- and 20% seems high.

One computer model that at times has been forecasting above average precipitation in Southern California this Winter is the Climate Forecast System version 2 (CFSv2). The CFSv2 is fully coupled ocean-atmosphere-land-sea ice model used to forecast parameters such as sea surface temperature, temperature and precipitation rate. While skillful at predicting tropical SSTs, the CFSv2 generally performs very poorly when forecasting precipitation over land, so forecasts such as this earlier one for Dec-Jan-Feb must be viewed somewhat skeptically.

Another glass half-full observation is that the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) has been relatively active this year and if this activity continues it provides recurring opportunities for enhanced U.S. West Coast precipitation. The downside is that it can result in periods of dry weather as well.

With the ocean and atmosphere neutral there's just not much on which to base a rain season forecast. As a result of the government shutdown the release of the official NOAA 2013-14 Winter Outlook has been delayed until November. The October CPC outlook is usually the basis of the initial official NOAA U.S. Winter Outlook. The U.S. Dec-Jan-Feb Precipitation Outlook, released October 17, calls for an equal chance of below average, average, or above average precipitation for all of California. We'll see!

More information about Southern California weather and climate can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Sunday, October 20, 2013 3:31:26 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Saturday, December 8, 2012

MIRS Integrated Water Vapor, December 2, 2012 1800 UTC for the preceeding 12 hours. Click
MIRS IWV All Satellites
December 2, 2012 1800 UTC Preceding 12 hours.

If you were to only look at the Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) for November you might think our 2012-2013 El Nino hadn't flopped. The relative AAM anomaly peaked at about 1.4 around November 20, which is the highest it's been since the El Nino of 2009-2010.

Most of the AAM was added in the NH between 15°N and 30°N. This led to the development of a high amplitude mid-Pacific ridge, and undercutting of the ridge by the westerlies. This enabled a low near the dateline to tap tropical moisture and relay it into the circulation of a large eastern Pacific low. This linkage provided the moisture necessary to create the atmospheric rivers that produced excessive precipitation in Northern and Central California last week.

Over the 5-day period ending Monday morning (December 3) Northern and Central California recorded double-digit precipitation totals with several stations recording rainfall amounts in excess of 15 inches. Here are archived Public Information Statements issued by NWS San Francisco Bay Area/Monterey and NWS Eureka with some of the phenomenal precipitation totals recorded in those areas. This AHPS Precipitation Analysis shows the observed precipitation in the western U.S. for the 7-day period ending Monday morning.

New forecast methods developed by NOAA's ESRL PSD using satellite-derived and GFS medium range forecast data indicated high levels of water vapor transport early Friday and early Sunday. This typically characterizes AR events. This Evaluation of GFS Forecast Fields (PDF) shows the observed Integrated Water Vapor (IWV) for December 2, the corresponding analysis, and the 1-day to 5-day forecasts.

System dynamics were much weaker in Southern California, and the IWV content of the atmospheric rivers was less. (Friday IPW and Sunday IPW). Even so orographically favored areas were still able to wring several inches of rain from the moist flow. From Tuesday night to Monday morning Opids Camp recorded 3.02 inches, White Ledge Peak 4.09 inches, Refugio Pass 4.61 inches, and Rocky Butte 8.51 inches.

Over the same period Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 1.03 inches, bringing the water year total to 1.36 inches. As of today that's 1.08 inch less than normal. Here's an archived copy of a NWS compilation of preliminary rainfall totals in our area.

More information about Southern California weather and climate can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Saturday, December 8, 2012 5:30:17 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Saturday, September 29, 2012

In a post last June I mentioned that the atmosphere wasn't responding to warming Pacific equatorial SSTs. At that time normalized relative AAM values had dropped to around -2 sigma. Although El Nino-like SST conditions developed in the equatorial Pacific in July and persisted in August, the atmospheric component (AAM) did not follow suit. The average AAM for the period July-September was less than any other El Nino year going back to 1950. (See chart below.)

Following a relative rapid 2 sigma increase over a period of six months, the July/August value of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) dropped from 1.139 to 0.579, and its rank for the season dropped from just below a 'strong' El Nino to just below a 'weak' El Nino. Over the last month SST Anomaly in Nino Region 3.4 has dropped 0.6°C. A review of the ONI record reveals that a drop in the index, which is based on a 3 month running mean of Nino 3.4 anomaly, has not occurred before the Sep-Oct-Nov season during a warm episode.

As of mid September most models were still forecasting development of weak El Nino conditions. The IRI/CPC Plume-based ENSO Forecast puts the probability of El Nino conditions in the Sep-Oct-Nov season at a little over 80%! The probability of Neutral conditions is pegged at a little under 20%. The chance of returning to La Nina conditions is considered virtually nil. Going back to 1950, year two La Nina conditions almost always transition either back to La Nina conditions or to El Nino conditions. Depending on the climatology used there is either one (1985-86) or no cases of a transition to Neutral conditions from a second year La Nina.

Many dynamical model MJO forecasts are predicting a developing MJO signal in the Western Pacific, and that appears to be occurring. Velocity potential loops and Pacific Basin stitched satellite imagery show enhanced convection west of the date line, and today's MJO phase space plot from CAWCR/BOM shows a signal beginning to emerge. On the wind side, Mountain torques are over +4 sigma and Coriolis torque is at -2 sigma. Whether the (apparently) emerging MJO will help reboot our fading El Nino remains to be seen.

Update Friday, October 5, 2012. Eastward-propagating MJO-like signal didn't evolve as forecast by GFS (and several other models). Here's today's MJO phase space plot from CAWCR/BOM. Large swings in the magnitude of Mountain and Coriolis torques have continued. Relative AAM remains at about -1 sigma. The Early October CPC/IRI Consensus Probabilistic ENSO Forecast indicates an increasing chance of Neutral conditions developing over the next several months, but still gives an edge to El Nino conditions developing before the end of 2012.

Following is a chart comparing 2012-13 to warm ENSO episodes that have occurred since 1950. The warm episodes are based on the revised Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) based on multiple-centered 30 year base periods and are those specified in the CPC's tabulation of Cold & Warm Episodes by Season. A description of the parameters follows the chart. With the exception of years prior to 1957, a GWO phase space plot is included for each warm episode.

Year Jul-Sep
AAM
Nov-Mar
AAM
Peak MEI Peak MEI Season Peak
ONI
Peak ONI Season L.A. Rain GWO
Phase Plot
1951-521 -- -- 0.853 JULAUG 1.2 SON 26.21 --
1952-533 -- -- 0.840 APRMAY 0.7 MAM 9.46 --
1953-543 -- -- 0.522 AUGSEP 0.8 ASO,SON,OND 11.99 --
1957-58 -- 0.773 1.473 DECJAN, JANFEB 1.8 NDJ, DJF 21.13 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1958-592 -0.919 -0.206 0.803 JANFEB 0.6 NDJ, DJF,JFM 5.58 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1963-64 0.005 0.046 0.857 OCTNOV, DECJAN 1.4 OND 7.93 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1965-66 -0.826 -0.748 1.483 JULAUG 1.9 SON,OND 20.44 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1968-694 0.130 0.513 0.868 JANFEB 1.1 DJF, JFM 27.47 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1969-704 0.358 0.413 0.644 OCTNOV 0.9 SON,OND 7.77  
1972-73 -0.096 -0.239 1.886 JUNJUL, JULAUG 2.1 OND,NDJ 21.26 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1976-77 0.284 -0.828 1.027 AUGSEP 0.8 OND,NDJ 12.31 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1977-78 -0.646 1.008 1.007 SEPOCT, OCTNOV 0.8 OND, NDJ 33.44 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1982-83 0.938 2.337 3.037 FEBMAR 2.2 NDJ, DJF 31.25 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1986-875 0.232 0.019 2.122 APRMAY 1.3 JFM 7.66 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1987-885 1.153 1.000 1.951 JULAUG 1.6 JAS, ASO 12.48 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1991-92 -0.008 0.808 2.271 MARAPR 1.6 DJF 21.00 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1994-95 -0.422 0.764 1.434 SEPOCT 1.2 NDJ 24.35 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1997-98 1.811 1.481 3.001 JULAUG,AUGSEP 2.4 OND 31.01 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2002-03 0.047 0.324 1.184 DECJAN 1.3 OND,NDJ 16.49 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2004-05 -0.020 0.747 1.018 FEBMAR 0.7 JAS-NDJ 37.96 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2006-07 0.143 -0.322 1.289 OCTNOV 1 OND, NDJ 3.21 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2009-10 -0.103 0.303 1.520 JANFEB 1.6 NDJ,DJF 16.36 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2012-136 -0.951 0.296 1.139 JUNJUL 0.6 SON 5.85 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot

1. AAM and AAM tendency anomaly data for 1951-52 not available.
2. AAM anomaly is average for Jan-Mar 1958.
3. Continuous warm episode from DJF 1952/53 to JFM 1954.
4. Continuous warm episode from JAS 1968 to DJF 1969/70.
5. Continuous warm episode from JAS 1986 to JFM 1988.
6. Data as of May 8, 2013.

Jul-Sep AAM & Nov-Mar AAM: The mean of the global relative atmospheric angular momentum anomaly for the periods July 1 to September 30 amd November 1 to March 31 of the following year. Data is from the GWO phase space data file linked on the Global Synoptic Dynamic Model page of the PSD Map Room Climate Products. Reference Weickmann and Berry, 2008.

Peak MEI: The peak seasonal value of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI). Reference Wolter and Timlin, 1993, 1998. MEI values are normalized and may change as new data is added.

Peak MEI Season: The peak bi-monthly season(s) for which the MEI is computed.

Peak ONI: The peak Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) based on SST anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region. Reference Climate Prediction Center Cold & Warm Episodes by Season (Multiple centered 30-year base periods.)

Peak ONI Season: The peak tri-monthly season(s) for which the ONI is computed.

L.A. Rain: The water year precipitation total in inches for Downtown Los Angeles (USC). Reference NWS Los Angeles/Oxnard Downtown Los Angeles Climate Page, 1921-2006 Water Year Rainfall.

GWO Phase Space Plot: Plot of global relative atmospheric angular momentum anomaly vs. global relative atmospheric angular momentum tendency anomaly for the period November 1 to March 31 of the following year. Data is from the GWO phase space data file linked on the Global Synoptic Dynamic Model page of the PSD Map Room Climate Products. Reference Weickmann and Berry, 2008.

Saturday, September 29, 2012 3:15:07 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Saturday, June 30, 2012

TAO/TRITON Time-Longitude Plot SST and Anomaly Click
TAO/TRITON Time-Longitude Plot of SST and Anomaly
Saturday, June 30, 2012

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) will end the the 2011-2012 water year (July 1 to June 30) having recorded 8.69 inches of rain. This is about 58% of the 1981-2010 normal of 14.93 inches. The deficit of 6.24 inches is a little more than the 5-6 inch deficit recorded in a selection of similar second year La Nina years. According to data compiled by the NWS Santa Barbara will end the water year at about 66% of normal; Camarillo/Oxnard at 57%; Burbank Airport at 51%; LAX at 59%; and Long Beach Airport at 62%.

This TAO/Triton plot of Pacific equatorial SST and anomaly clearly depicts the evolution of our two year La Nina and the recent transition to warmer conditions. Is an El Nino in the works for this Winter? According to the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) a transition to El Nino conditions may already be underway. The April/May value of the MEI was +0.706. This is already within the range of a weak El Niño ranking. In his June 6 discussion of the MEI climatologist Klaus Wolter noted the last month's increase in the MEI was the 6th highest increase for this time of year since 1950. He also pointed out that it was the 4th monthly increase of this caliber in a row -- second only to the record of six consecutive large monthly increases in 1997 at the beginning of the mega El Nino of 1997-98. It will be very interesting to see if the string of large increases in the MEI continues with the May/June value.

While the ocean seems to be on board with the El Nino idea, the atmosphere appears to be balking -- at least for the moment. As of June 24, the AAM component of the GWO was down around -2.0, which is nearly as low as it's been during year two of the 2010-2012 La Nina. A positive value of AAM is generally associated with El Nino conditions.

More information about Southern California weather and climate can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Saturday, June 30, 2012 4:27:44 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Sunday, February 26, 2012

ESRL/PSD Analog 8-14 Day Probabilistic Precipitation Forecast Click
ESRL/PSD Analog 8-14 Day Probabilistic Precipitation Forecast
Probability of more than 25mm precipitation from 03/04/12 to 03/10/12.

Wednesday Downtown Los Angeles' water year rainfall total fell below 50% of normal for the date. With only 5.22 inches of rain in the bucket it looks like we're headed toward the driest rain season since the record-setting dry water year of 2006-2007, when a meager 3.21 inches was recorded. If Los Angeles ends the rain year (June 30) with less than 7.16 inches of precipitation, the 2011-2012 water year would be one of the ten driest on record.

It's been dry throughout most of Southern California and much of the state. According to data compiled by the NWS Burbank's water year total now stands at a paltry 34% of normal; Long Beach 49% of normal; Camarillo 42% of normal; Santa Barbara 56% of normal; and Paso Robles 49% of normal. Southernmost California has fared a little better with San Diego at about 79% of normal for the date. Central California rainfall is also well below average with San Francisco at 35% of the normal, San Jose at 26% and Sacramento at 40%.

I received an email recently from a reader asking if I thought a March Miracle was likely this year. Keeping in mind the chaotic nature of weather, and that low probability events do sometimes occur, the short answer is that I don't think it's likely we'll see higher than normal rainfall this March.

In a post in early October I discussed what the impact of a second year La Nina might be on 2011-12 Winter precipitation in the continental U.S. For a selection of seven second year La Ninas the coastal Southern California climate division recorded about 5 to 6 inches less precipitation than normal for the period November through March. If we take a look at March rainfall in that same selection of second year La Ninas, four of the seven recorded less than 0.5 inch rain in March, and only one was well above average -- 4.83 inches in March 1975.

Current outlooks are not favorable for higher than average March precipitation. The Climate Prediction Centers 6-10 Day Precipitation Outlook, 8-14 Day Precipitation Outlook, and One Month Precipitation Outlook all indicate below normal precipitation in Southern California. The ESRL/PSD Analog Probabilistic Precipitation Forecast is also dry in the 6-10 and 8-14 day outlook period, and the PSD Ensemble Spread does not look encouraging.

On the climate side of things the active phase of the MJO has been stalled in the Indian Ocean, but the 15-day ensemble ECMWF and several models forecast increased amplitude and eastward propagation. As a result of strong negative East Asian and Tropical torque events, relative atmospheric angular momentum is dropping like a rock, with the GWO taking a big dive into La Nina territory. Should the MJO continue to propagate and AAM increase over the next 2 weeks, perhaps we'll see the scenario necessary to generate an extended Pacific jet strong enough to impact the West Coast.

Monday its looking like we may get a little rain and possibly some lower elevation snow. Goes soundings and model data indicate the Pacific system is moisture-starved, but it is quite cold and is forecast to have strong dynamics. A GOES sounding near the systems core showed a 500mb temp of -30°C. Precipitable water values in the circulation around the low were around 0.6 inch. With such cold air aloft, and strong system dynamics, strong convection is a possibility. We'll see!

More information about Southern California weather and climate can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Sunday, February 26, 2012 3:37:30 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Following is a chart comparing the 2011-12 La Nina to other cold ENSO episodes that have occurred since 1949. With the exception of 1961-62 and 2008-09 the cold episodes are based on the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) and are those specified in the CPC's tabulation of Cold & Warm Episodes by Season. A description of the parameters follows the chart. A GWO phase space plot is included for those cold episodes for which AAM data is available. Data for 2011-12 will be updated periodically.

Year Nov-Mar
AAM
Peak MEI4 Peak MEI Season Peak
ONI
Peak ONI Season L.A. Rain GWO
Phase Plot
1949-501,2 -- -1.423 APRMAY -1.7 DJF 9.94 --
1950-511 -- -1.247 NOVDEC -1.0 NDJ, DJF 8.21 --
1954-551 -- -1.578 MAYJUN (54) -1.2 ASO 11.94 --
1955-561 -- -2.276 MAYJUN (55) -2.0 OND 16.00 --
1956-571 -- -1.516 MAYJUN (56) -0.9 SON, OND 9.54 --
1961-623 -0.513 -1.093 DECJAN -0.6 ASO, SON 18.79 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1962-63 -1.259 -0.843 JANFEB -0.7 OND, NDJ 8.38 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1964-65 -1.145 -1.496 JULAUG -1.2 SON, OND 13.69 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1967-68 -0.770 -1.060 APRMAY -0.9 JFM 16.58 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1970-71 -0.976 -1.898 MARAPR -1.3 DJF, JFM 12.32 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1971-72 -0.173 -1.463 AUGSEP -1.0 OND 7.17 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1973-74 -1.331 -1.942 DECJAN -2.1 NDJ 14.92 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1974-75 -0.842 -1.255 OCTNOV -0.9 OND 14.35 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1975-76 -0.713 -2.000 SEPOCT -1.7 OND, NDJ 7.22 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1984-85 -0.597 -0.743 APRMAY -1.1 NDJ 12.82 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1988-89 -1.139 -1.591 AUGSEP -1.9 OND, NDJ 8.08 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1995-96 -0.227 -0.644 DECJAN -0.7 OND to JFM 12.46 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1998-99 -0.541 -1.233 JANFEB -1.4 NDJ, DJF 9.09 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1999-00 -0.781 -1.242 JANFEB -1.6 NDJ, DJF 11.57 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2000-01 -0.795 -.755 OCTNOV -0.7 NDJ 17.94 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2007-08 -1.010 -1.631 FEBMAR -1.4 DJF, JFM 13.53 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2008-093 -0.596 -.783 SEPOCT -0.8 DJF 9.08 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2010-11 -0.596 -2.037 AUGSEP -1.4 SON, OND, NDJ 20.20 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2011-125 -0.370 -1.046 DECJAN -1.0 OND, NDJ 8.19 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1. AAM and AAM tendency anomaly data not available.
2. Based on ONI values beginning with DJF 1949-50.
3. ONI did not meet threshold of 5 consecutive overlapping seasons.
4. MEI values are normalized and may change as new data is added. Specified values were current as of April 24, 2012.
5. Data as of April 24, 2012.

Nov-Mar AAM: The mean of the global relative atmospheric angular momentum anomaly for the period November 1 to March 31 of the following year. Data is from the GWO phase space data file linked on the Global Synoptic Dynamic Model page of the PSD Map Room Climate Products. Reference Weickmann and Berry, 2008.

Peak MEI: The peak seasonal value of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI). Reference Wolter and Timlin, 1993, 1998. MEI values are normalized and may change as new data is added.

Peak MEI Season: The peak bi-monthly season(s) for which the MEI is computed.

Peak ONI: The peak Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) based on SST anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region. Reference Climate Prediction Center Cold & Warm Episodes by Season.

Peak ONI Season: The peak tri-monthly season(s) for which the ONI is computed.

L.A. Rain: The water year precipitation total in inches for Downtown Los Angeles (USC). Reference NWS Los Angeles/Oxnard Downtown Los Angeles Climate Page, 1921-2006 Water Year Rainfall.

GWO Phase Space Plot: Plot of global relative atmospheric angular momentum anomaly vs. global relative atmospheric angular momentum tendency anomaly for the period November 1 to March 31 of the following year. Data is from the GWO phase space data file linked on the Global Synoptic Dynamic Model page of the PSD Map Room Climate Products. Reference Weickmann and Berry, 2008.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012 7:46:46 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Click
GOES-11 Water Vapor Image
Sunday, November 20, 2011 - 11:30 am PST

For the past two years Los Angeles has recorded above normal rainfall over the first six months of the water year (Jul. 1 to Dec. 31). So far this year is following suit.

After a record-setting storm in early October in which Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded over an inch or rain, a series of upper level troughs have continued to bump up the rainfall total. The systems have tended to be amplifying upper level troughs that split, typically transforming the southern half of the trough into a difficult-to-forecast cut-off upper level low. The resulting cut-off lows have then tracked over, along, or off the Southern California coast producing varying amounts of rain.

Sunday's system was the fourth to produce measurable rain in Los Angeles this November. A strong cold front produced very heavy rain, resulting in flooded streets and highways and resulting in a host of other weather-related problems. In the middle of it all runners in the PCTR Santa Monica Mountains 9K, 18K, 30K and 50K were running distances up to 31.5 miles on the trails of Pt. Mugu State Park.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 0.90 inches for the storm, bringing the water year total to 2.75 inches. This is 1.11 inch above the new 1981-2010 normal for rainfall from July 1 through November 22. Here are some additional (preliminary) precipitation totals from around the area, compiled by the NWS Los Angeles/Oxnard. More than an inch above normal sounds like a lot, but as of today only guarantees Los Angeles precipitation will be above normal through December 12.

Back on July 1 NOAA released the new 1981-2010 climate normals, replacing the 1971-2000 normals that have been used this past decade. Normals serve as a 30 year baseline average of climate variables such as monthly and annual maximum, minimum, and mean temperature; and monthly and annual total precipitation. For example, Downtown Los Angeles' new normal annual precipitation total is now 14.93 inches, down from the 15.14 inches we've been using.

After dropping to -0.503 for July/August, and then to -0.772 for August/September, the September/October value of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) has dropped a bit more to -.968 sigma. This is well within La Nina territory, but almost one sigma less than last year's September/October value. Plots of the Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) for July 1 to November 19, 2011 and the same period last year illustrate the year-to-year difference in the atmosphere's response to La Nina conditions. So far, this year's response is consistent with a more active MJO and a shift toward a more neutral ENSO state.

While there's still a chance of rain in Southern California Thanksgiving Day, the forecast is looking better than it did a few days ago when rain was considered likely. The difficulty in the forecast is yet another upper level trough splitting into a cut-off upper level low. The 12z NAM forecasts the low to remain offshore on Thanksgiving Day, and move into Northern Baja by the late afternoon. The 09z SREF puts the probability of more than 0.01 inch of rain in coastal Southern California for the 12 hours ending 4:00 pm Thursday at 10% - 30% and the chance of more than 0.10 inch of rain at around 10%. A shift in the track of the low toward the coast would significantly increase the chance of rain. We'll see!

More information about Southern California weather and climate can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 8:47:53 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Saturday, October 8, 2011

Click
GOES-11 Water Vapor Image
Wednesday, October 5, 2011 - 11:30 am PDT

An unseasonably deep upper level low, unusually strong 170+ kt Pacific jet, and associated cold front combined to produce record-setting rainfall in Southern California Wednesday, October 5. Rainfall totals exceeded 1.0 inch in many areas.

Downtown Los Angeles (USC) recorded 1.15 inches, setting a new record for the date, and kick-starting the area's rainy season to 0.78 inch above normal. Rainfall records for the date were also set for LAX, Long Beach, Camarillo, Santa Barbara and several other locations. It was the first measurable rainfall at Los Angeles since June 17. Here are some preliminary precipitation totals from the NWS Los Angeles/Oxnard,NWS San Joaquin Valley/Hanford and NWS San Diego.

Enhanced convection in the Western Pacific associated with active phase of the MJO, and an extension of the North Pacific Jet caused by a positive East Asian mountain torque event appeared to have contributed to the unseasonable amount of rainfall. As observed by Ed Berry (Atmospheric Insights, Dec. 30, 2007), "...the MJO itself does not generate enough extratropical westerly wind flow to allow the East Asian jet to impact the USA west coast. A strong positive East Asian mountain torque needs to be involved, on average."

The increase in relative AAM shown by the GWO not withstanding, La Nina conditions appear to be consolidating in the equatorial Pacific. This four month sequence of Pacific Ocean Equatorial Temperature anomaly cross sections shows substantial subsurface cooling from July 11 to September 11. The Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) has dropped from -0.5 for July/August to -0.8 for the August/September season. This drops the MEI from a rank of 16th last month to 13th this month, just above the quintile definition of a moderate La Niña ranking. Last year the MEI for August/September ranked 1st in the record since 1950. This TAO time-longitude plot of SST and SST anomaly shows less cooling than last year on this date.

To get an idea of what the impact of a second year La Nina might be on 2011-12 Winter precipitation in the continental U.S., the ESRL/PSD US Climate Division Dataset Mapping Page was used to construct a map of US composite precipitation anomalies for November to March for year two La Ninas since 1949. The years included were based primarily on MEI rankings, and include 1950-51, 1955-56, 1962-63, 1971-72, 1974-75, 1999-2000 and 2008-09. The base period was 1971-2000.

For this selection of years the coastal Southern California climate division recorded about 5 to 6 inches less precipitation than normal for the period November through March. The percent of normal water year rainfall recorded at Downtown Los Angeles (USC) ranged from a low of 47% (1971, 7.17"), to a high of 106% (1955, 16.00"). The average rainfall at Los Angeles for these years was 70.5% of normal, or 10.7".

More information about Southern California weather and climate can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

Saturday, October 8, 2011 2:05:22 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Sunday, January 9, 2011

Following is a chart comparing the 2010-11 La Nina to 22 other cold ENSO episodes that have occurred since 1949. With the exception of 1961-62 and 2008-09, the cold episodes are based on the Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) and are those specified in the CPC's tabulation of Cold & Warm Episodes by Season. A description of the parameters follows the chart. A GWO phase space plot is included for those cold episodes for which AAM data is available.

Year Nov-Mar
AAM
Peak MEI4 Peak MEI Season Peak
ONI
Peak ONI Season L.A. Rain GWO
Phase Plot
1949-501,2 -- -1.423 APRMAY -1.7 DJF 9.94 --
1950-511 -- -1.261 NOVDEC -1.0 NDJ, DJF 8.21 --
1954-551 -- -1.578 MAYJUN (54) -1.2 ASO 11.94 --
1955-561 -- -2.276 MAYJUN (55) -2.0 OND 16.00 --
1956-571 -- -1.516 MAYJUN (56) -0.9 SON, OND 9.54 --
1961-623 -0.511 -1.081 DECJAN -0.6 ASO, SON 18.79 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1962-63 -1.254 -0.849 JANFEB -0.7 OND, NDJ 8.38 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1964-65 -1.141 -1.496 JULAUG -1.2 SON, OND 13.69 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1967-68 -0.767 -1.060 APRMAY -0.9 JFM 16.58 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1970-71 -0.973 -1.898 MARAPR -1.3 DJF, JFM 12.32 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1971-72 -0.172 -1.463 AUGSEP -1.0 OND 7.17 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1973-74 -1.326 -1.937 DECJAN -2.1 NDJ 14.92 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1974-75 -0.839 -1.256 OCTNOV -0.9 OND 14.35 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1975-76 -0.711 -2.000 SEPOCT -1.7 OND, NDJ 7.22 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1984-85 -0.595 -0.743 APRMAY -1.1 NDJ 12.82 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1988-89 -1.135 -1.591 AUGSEP -1.9 OND, NDJ 8.08 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1995-96 -0.226 -0.641 DECJAN -0.7 OND to JFM 12.46 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1998-99 -0.539 -1.219 JANFEB -1.4 NDJ, DJF 9.09 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1999-00 -0.778 -1.228 JANFEB -1.6 NDJ, DJF 11.57 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2000-01 -0.795 -.747 OCTNOV -0.7 NDJ 17.94 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2007-08 -1.007 -1.619 FEBMAR -1.4 DJF, JFM 13.53 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2008-093 -0.594 -.783 SEPOCT -0.8 DJF 9.08 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
2010-11 -0.595 -2.037 AUGSEP -1.4 SON, OND, NDJ 20.20 Click for Nov-Mar GWO Phase Space Plot
1. AAM and AAM tendency anomaly data not available.
2. Based on ONI values beginning with DJF 1949-50.
3. ONI did not meet threshold of 5 consecutive overlapping seasons.
4. MEI values are normalized and may change as new data is added. Specified values were current as of November 8, 2011.

Nov-Mar AAM: The mean of the global relative atmospheric angular momentum anomaly for the period November 1 to March 31 of the following year. Data is from the GWO phase space data file linked on the Global Synoptic Dynamic Model page of the PSD Map Room Climate Products. Reference Weickmann and Berry, 2008.

Peak MEI: The peak seasonal value of the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI). Reference Wolter and Timlin, 1993, 1998. MEI values are normalized and may change as new data is added.

Peak MEI Season: The peak bi-monthly season(s) for which the MEI is computed.

Peak ONI: The peak Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) based on SST anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region. Reference Climate Prediction Center Cold & Warm Episodes by Season.

Peak ONI Season: The peak tri-monthly season(s) for which the ONI is computed.

L.A. Rain: The water year precipitation total in inches for Downtown Los Angeles (USC). Reference NWS Los Angeles/Oxnard Downtown Los Angeles Climate Page, 1921-2006 Calendar Year Rainfall.

GWO Phase Space Plot: Plot of global relative atmospheric angular momentum anomaly vs. global relative atmospheric angular momentum tendency anomaly for the period November 1 to March 31 of the following year. Data is from the GWO phase space data file linked on the Global Synoptic Dynamic Model page of the PSD Map Room Climate Products. Reference Weickmann and Berry, 2008.

Sunday, January 9, 2011 3:02:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Saturday, July 17, 2010

Click
TAO/TRITON SST & SST Anomaly
July 17, 2010

Following a 26 day stretch in which the temperature at Downtown Los Angeles was below normal 25 of the days, and several lowest maximum temperature records were set around the area, temperatures have soared, and record high temperatures for the date have been recorded at several locations.

On June 30, Downtown Los Angeles ended the water year about 8% above normal. Some stations in the Los Angeles area recorded more than this and some less. There was a wide range of values. For example, Long Beach Airport was about 20% above normal and Santa Barbara Airport about 23% above; but Camarillo Airport reported 31% below normal rainfall. Here's an AHPS graphic showing the percent of normal precipitation in California and the Southwest for the year ending July 1 at 12z.

Equatorial Pacific SSTs have generally continued to cool. According to the CPC's Weekly ENSO Update, issued July 12, the latest weekly SST departures were -1.3°C (Niño1+2), -1.0°C (Niño 3), -0.8°C (Niño 3.4), and -0.4°C (Niño 4). According to the CPC, La Niña conditions occur "when the monthly Niño3.4 OISST departures meet or exceed -0.5°C along with consistent atmospheric features. These anomalies must also be forecasted to persist for 3 consecutive months."

Reflecting the transition from El Nino to La Nina conditions, the Multivariate ENSO Index (MEI) for May-June experienced an unprecedented drop for the time of year, decreasing nearly 1 standard deviation to a value of -0.41. In addition, the Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) has orbited about -2 SD down on the La Nina side of the phase space plot, and with the atmosphere in a generally low momentum state, may be in that neighborhood for a while.

The most recent IRI ENSO Update, released July 15, projects "an approximately 80% probability for continuing La Niña conditions, and a 20% probability for returning neutral ENSO conditions. "

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Saturday, July 17, 2010 7:53:54 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   | 
# Friday, June 25, 2010

Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) April 1, 2010 - June 23, 2010 Click
Global Wind Oscillation (GWO)
April 1, 2010 - June 23, 2010

Equatorial Pacific SSTs have continued to cool and TAO/TRITON data shows -1.0°C or greater anomalies extending from 95°W to beyond 150°W. According to the CPC's Weekly ENSO Update, issued June 21, the latest weekly SST departures were -0.7°C (Niño1+2), -0.6°C (Niño 3), -0.5°C (Niño 3.4), and 0.0°C (Niño 4). An anomaly of -0.5°C in the Niño 3.4 region is the threshold for La Nina conditions.

The Global Wind Oscillation (GWO) has spiraled well into La Niña territory. The global relative atmospheric angular momentum anomaly is at its lowest value since March 2008, during the La Niña of 2007-2008.

Based on equatorial Pacific SSTs, section plots, tradewinds and cloudiness; and the GWO and AAM; a transition to La Nina conditions appears to be underway.

It looks like Downtown Los Angeles (USC) will likely end the July 1 - June 30 water year having recorded 16.36 inches of rain. This is more than an inch above the 1971-2000 annual climate norm of 15.14 inches.

More information concerning Southern California weather can be found using our WEATHER LINKS page.

 

Friday, June 25, 2010 3:42:31 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00)  #    Disclaimer  |   |