El Niño and La Niña Years and Intensities
Based on Oceanic Niño Index (ONI)
Jan Null, CCM

Updated August 24, 2015
 
The Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) has become the de-facto standard that NOAA uses for identifying El Niño (warm) and La Niña (cool) events in the tropical Pacific.  It is the running 3-month mean SST anomaly for the Niño 3.4 region (i.e., 5oN-5oS, 120o-170oW).  Events are defined as 5 consecutive overlapping 3-month periods at or above the +0.5o anomaly for warm (El Niño) events and at or below the -0.5 anomaly for cold (La Niña) events.  The threshold is further broken down into Weak (with a 0.5 to 0.9 SST anomaly), Moderate (1.0 to 1.4), Strong (1.5 to 1.9) and Very Strong (≥ 2.0) events.  For the purpose of this report for an event to be categorized as weak, moderate, strong or very strong it must have equaled or exceeded the threshold for at least 3 consecutive overlapping 3-month periods. [* Important note: This list was changed in July 2015 to reflect the use of ERSSTv4 by CPC in the calculation of Sea Surface Temperatures (SST). Consequently the events (below) marked with an asterisk were shifted down one category.
El Niño La Niña
Weak Mod Strong Very Strong Weak Mod Strong
1951-52* 1963-64 1957-58 1982-83 1950-51 1955-56 1973-74
1952-53 1986-87 1965-66 1997-98 1954-55 1970-71 1975-76
1953-54 1987-88* 1972-73   1964-65 1998-99 1988-89
1958-59 1991-92     1967-68* 1999-00*  
1968-69* 2002-03     1971-72 2007-08  
1969-70 2009-10     1974-75 2010-11*  
1976-77       1983-84  
1977-78       1984-85  
1979-80*       1995-96  
1994-95*     2000-01  
2004-05     2011-12  
2006-07        
         

Running 3-Month Mean ONI values
http://www.cpc.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/ensostuff/ensoyears.shtml
WE=Weak El Niño, ME=Moderate El Niño, SE=Strong El Niño, VSE=Very Strong El Niño
WL=Weak La Niña, ML=Moderate La Niña, SL=Strong La Niña
ENSO                              
Type Season JJA JAS ASO SON OND NDJ DJF JFM FMA MAM AMJ MJJ
WL 1950 - 1951 -0.6 -0.6 -0.5 -0.6 -0.7 -0.8 -0.8 -0.6 -0.2 0.2 0.2 0.4
WE* 1951 - 1952 0.5 0.7 0.8 0.9 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.2
WE 1952 - 1953 0 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.6 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7
WE 1953 - 1954 0.7 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.4 0 -0.4 -0.5 -0.5
WL 1954 - 1955 -0.5 -0.7 -0.7 -0.6 -0.5 -0.5 -0.6 -0.6 -0.7 -0.7 -0.7 -0.6
ML 1955 - 1956 -0.6 -0.6 -1 -1.4 -1.6 -1.4 -0.9 -0.6 -0.6 -0.5 -0.5 -0.4
* 1956 - 1957 -0.5 -0.5 -0.4 -0.4 -0.5 -0.4 -0.3 0 0.3 0.6 0.7 0.9
SE 1957 - 1958 1 1.2 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.6 1.7 1.5 1.2 0.8 0.7 0.6
WE 1958 - 1959 0.5 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.2 0.1 -0.2
  1959 - 1960 -0.3 -0.3 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.1 -0.2 -0.1 0 -0.1 -0.2
  1960 - 1961 0 0.1 0.2 0.1 0 0 0 0 -0.1 0 0.1 0.2
  1961 - 1962 0.1 -0.1 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2 -0.2 -0.2 -0.2 -0.2 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2
  1962 - 1963 -0.1 -0.2 -0.2 -0.3 -0.3 -0.4 -0.4 -0.2 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.4
ME 1963 - 1964 0.7 1 1.1 1.2 1.2 1.1 1 0.6 0.1 -0.3 -0.6 -0.6
WL 1964 - 1965 -0.7 -0.7 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8 -0.5 -0.3 -0.1 0.1 0.4 0.7
SE 1965 - 1966 1 1.3 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.5 1.3 1 0.9 0.6 0.3 0.2
  1966 - 1967 0.2 0.1 0 -0.1 -0.1 -0.3 -0.4 -0.5 -0.5 -0.5 -0.2 0
WL* 1967 - 1968 0 -0.2 -0.3 -0.4 -0.4 -0.5 -0.7 -0.8 -0.7 -0.5 -0.1 0.2
WE* 1968 - 1969 0.5 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.6 0.8 0.9 1 0.9 0.7 0.6 0.5
WE 1969 - 1970 0.4 0.5 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.1 -0.3
ML 1970 - 1971 -0.6 -0.8 -0.8 -0.8 -0.9 -1.2 -1.3 -1.3 -1.1 -0.9 -0.8 -0.7
WL 1971 - 1972 -0.8 -0.7 -0.8 -0.8 -0.9 -0.8 -0.7 -0.4 0 0.3 0.6 0.8
SE 1972 - 1973 1.1 1.3 1.5 1.8 2 1.9 1.7 1.2 0.6 0 -0.4 -0.8
SL 1973 - 1974 -1 -1.2 -1.4 -1.7 -1.9 -1.9 -1.7 -1.5 -1.2 -1 -0.9 -0.8
WL 1974 - 1975 -0.6 -0.4 -0.4 -0.6 -0.7 -0.6 -0.5 -0.5 -0.6 -0.6 -0.7 -0.8
SL 1975 - 1976 -1 -1.1 -1.3 -1.4 -1.5 -1.6 -1.5 -1.1 -0.7 -0.4 -0.3 -0.1
WE 1976 - 1977 0.1 0.3 0.5 0.7 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.6 0.4 0.3 0.3 0.4
WE 1977 - 1978 0.4 0.4 0.5 0.6 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.4 0.1 -0.2 -0.3 -0.3
  1978 - 1979 -0.4 -0.4 -0.4 -0.3 -0.1 0 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.3 0.1
WE* 1979 - 1980 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.5 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.5 0.5
  1980 - 1981 0.3 0.2 0 0.1 0.1 0 -0.2 -0.4 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.3
  1981 - 1982 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 -0.1 0 0 0.1 0.2 0.5 0.6 0.7
VSE 1982 - 1983 0.8 1 1.5 1.9 2.1 2.1 2.1 1.8 1.5 1.2 1 0.7
WL 1983 - 1984 0.3 0 -0.3 -0.6 -0.8 -0.8 -0.5 -0.3 -0.3 -0.4 -0.4 -0.4
WL 1984 - 1985 -0.3 -0.2 -0.3 -0.6 -0.9 -1.1 -0.9 -0.7 -0.7 -0.7 -0.7 -0.6
  1985 - 1986 -0.4 -0.4 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.3 -0.4 -0.4 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0
ME 1986 - 1987 0.2 0.4 0.7 0.9 1 1.1 1.1 1.2 1.1 1 0.9 1.1
ME* 1987 - 1988 1.4 1.6 1.6 1.4 1.2 1.1 0.8 0.5 0.1 -0.3 -0.8 -1.2
SL 1988 - 1989 -1.2 -1.1 -1.2 -1.4 -1.7 -1.8 -1.6 -1.4 -1.1 -0.9 -0.6 -0.4
  1989 - 1990 -0.3 -0.3 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.1 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.3
  1990 - 1991 0.3 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.4 0.6
ME 1991 - 1992 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.8 1.2 1.4 1.6 1.5 1.4 1.2 1 0.8
  1992 - 1993 0.5 0.2 0 -0.1 -0.1 0 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.7 0.8 0.6
  1993 - 1994 0.3 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4
WE* 1994 - 1995 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.6 0.9 1 0.9 0.7 0.5 0.3 0.2 0
WL 1995 - 1996 -0.2 -0.5 -0.7 -0.9 -1 -0.9 -0.9 -0.7 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 -0.2
  1996 - 1997 -0.2 -0.3 -0.3 -0.4 -0.4 -0.5 -0.5 -0.4 -0.2 0.1 0.6 1
VSE 1997 - 1998 1.4 1.7 2 2.2 2.3 2.3 2.1 1.8 1.4 1 0.5 -0.1
ML 1998 - 1999 -0.7 -1 -1.2 -1.2 -1.3 -1.4 -1.4 -1.2 -1 -0.9 -0.9 -1
ML* 1999 - 2000 -1 -1 -1.1 -1.2 -1.4 -1.6 -1.6 -1.4 -1.1 -0.9 -0.7 -0.7
WL 2000 - 2001 -0.6 -0.5 -0.6 -0.7 -0.8 -0.8 -0.7 -0.6 -0.5 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1
  2001 - 2002 0 -0.1 -0.1 -0.2 -0.3 -0.3 -0.2 -0.1 0.1 0.2 0.4 0.7
ME 2002 - 2003 0.8 0.9 1 1.2 1.3 1.1 0.9 0.6 0.4 0 -0.2 -0.1
  2003 - 2004 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.1 0.2 0.3
WE 2004 - 2005 0.5 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.4 0.2
* 2005 - 2006 0.1 0 0 -0.1 -0.4 -0.7 -0.7 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0 0.1
WE 2006 - 2007 0.2 0.3 0.5 0.8 0.9 1 0.7 0.3 0 -0.1 -0.2 -0.2
ML 2007 - 2008 -0.3 -0.6 -0.8 -1.1 -1.2 -1.3 -1.4 -1.3 -1.1 -0.9 -0.7 -0.5
* 2008 - 2009 -0.3 -0.2 -0.2 -0.3 -0.5 -0.7 -0.8 -0.7 -0.4 -0.1 0.2 0.4
ME 2009 - 2010 0.5 0.6 0.7 1 1.2 1.3 1.3 1.1 0.8 0.5 0 -0.4
ML* 2010 - 2011 -0.8 -1.1 -1.3 -1.4 -1.3 -1.4 -1.3 -1.1 -0.8 -0.6 -0.3 -0.2
WL 2011 - 2012 -0.3 -0.5 -0.7 -0.9 -0.9 -0.8 -0.7 -0.6 -0.5 -0.4 -0.3 -0.1
  2012 - 2013 0.1 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.2 -0.2 -0.4 -0.5 -0.3 -0.2 -0.2 -0.2
  2013 - 2014 -0.2 -0.2 -0.2 -0.2 -0.2 -0.3 -0.5 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0 0
* 2014 - 2015 0 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.6 0.5 0.4 0.5 0.7 0.9 1.0
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