Digital Diatribes

A presentation of data on climate and other stuff

Ten Second Update…

Posted by The Diatribe Guy on January 5, 2009

Well, after traveling on vacation and getting back to work, I am in the midst of getting caught up with a number of things here.

I did, however, want to quickly point out that the latest ENSO data came out (link to the right) and it has a value of -0.633.  That is the fourth consecutive month under the -0.5 threshold considered to be La Nina.   It is a two-month average reading, so it is now persistent enough to note as a probably La Nina.  Officially, we need one more reading in that range, if I understand correctly.

Also, another link I have to the right shows the December Sunspot count at 0.8.   This is another very low reading after a couple months of a small increase.  Many thought the last two months, while low readings, indicated a stirring of Cycle 24 into some activity.  It appears that this is not the case yet.   The December number compares to last year’s count of over 10, so the 12-month average will dive to its lowest average yet.   I will hopefully take a little closer look at that.

The Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice rebounded quickly this fall, and then it reached a point where it did not advance for a number of days.  This hiatus in the extent increase put the 2008 total on the same course as 2007.  It has since tracked closely along that line.  While it does not appear that a dramatic increase in total extent is going to occur, it does appear that the 2007 maximum levels are at least matched.  There is really somewhat of a maximum upside that can be expected anyway, though historically there have been higher levels reached than current trends would indicate.   However, it woould stand to reason that since the freeze started with a higher base than 2008 and occurred earlier, there will be more thick ice heading into the 2009 melt.  There will also be more second-year ice.  People are really enamored with the difference between first and second year ice.  That seems silly to me, but I guess it might be important as it relates to overall thickness.

The Southern Hemisphere tracking shows that current ice levels continue to have a positive anomaly, meaning ice levels are above average.

No nifty charts or anything at the moment.  Just wanted to pass on my quick observations.

I hope you all had a Happy New Year.

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2 Responses to “Ten Second Update…”

  1. Mike Davis said

    After reading the NOAA CPC ENSO/ONI site I don’t know how they figure out EL-NINO/LA-NINA. I read it to say .5 anomaly for 5 3 months periods Per updated agreement for determining event. (I would think, simply mind you, that that meant 15 months)However I think they mean by 5 3 month periods: SON, OND, NDJ, DJF,JFM. Therefore if the average of Say: ASO is -.51 it matters not what the anomaly for auagst was as long as SO were low enough to bring it down. I thought that WMO set or determined standerds via commitee that were used by all weather orginizations globally so they were discussing apples to apples and creating confusion and building FRUIT SALAD by each country using propriatery standards. Yet some people are arguing for .68 to determine pattern and point to AUS standards. Claiming that each month needs to be below that figure for a specified time before claiming a current LA-NINO. Even if NOAA CPC ENSO/ONI is currently forcasting NINO conditions have or will occur in all probability.
    Of course that is only how I saw it. They have meant compleatley the opposite!

  2. The Diatribe Guy said

    I think you are correct in your second assumption, that it is 5-consecutive 3-month averages. So, this would not be 15 months, it would be 7 months, where all 3-month averages within that 7-month period is less than -0.5. A 15 month period would be a significant length for a La Nina event of that magnitude. I’d have to look more closely, but I don’t think even the “strong” La Nina from last year would have qualified.

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