Historic El Nino and La Nina Precipitation and Temperature Analysess
El Niño Winter Precipitation &
Temperature Climatology
Jan Null, CCM

October 2017

This is a catalog of nationwide average "winter" temperature and precipitation anomalies for previous El Niño events.  It also has the average for all events, weak events, moderate events, strong and very strong events and the wide range of the individual seasons that went into making up each of the averages.

It cannot be stressed strongly enough that this is a climatological analysis and not a forecasting tool.  This is especially true for the averages of different strength events which are made up of what are a very broad range of conditions; some that are decidedly atypical.

The Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) is used to identify El Niño (warm) and La Niña (cool) events in the tropical Pacific. The ONI 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 months 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 weak, moderate, strong or very strong it much have equaled or exceeded the threshold for at least 3 months.

 *A period of November - March was chosen as "winter" for this study because approximately 85% of the California rainfall is during that period.

El Niño Events:

Weak: 1952-53, 1953-54, 1958-59, 1969-70, 1976-77, 1977-78, 1979-80, 2004-05, 2006-07, 2014-15
Moderate: 1951-52, 1963-64, 1968-69, 1986-87,1994-95, 2002-03, 2009-10
Strong: 1957-58, 1965-66, 1972-73, 1987-88, 1991-92
Very Strong: 1982-83, 1997-98, 2015-16

 El Niño (Warm Event) Anomalies:
Winter (November, December, January, February, March) Impacts
 
El Niño Precipitation
Average - All El Niño
ONI ≥ +0.5


1951-52 1952-53 1953-54 1957-58 1958-59
1963-64 1965-66 1968-69 1969-70 1972-73
1976-77 1977-78 1979-80 1982-83 1986-87
1987-88 1991-92 1994-95 1997-98 2002-03
2004-05 2006-07 2009-10  2014-15 2015-16
 
Average - Weak El Niño
ONI= +0.5 to +0.9


1952-53 1953-54 1958-59 1969-70 1976-77
1977-78 1979-80 2004-05 2006-07 2014-15
 
Average - Moderate El  Niño
ONI= +1.0 to +1.4

1951-52 1963-64 1968-69 1986-87 1994-95
2002-03 2009-10      
     
 
Average - Strong El Niño
ONI=  +1.5 to +1.9

1957-58 1965-66 1972-73 1987-88 1991-92
 
Average - Very Strong El Niño
ONI=  ≥ +2.0

1982-83 1997-98 2015-16     
   


 
El Niño Temperature
Average - All El Niño
ONI ≥ +0.5
1951-52 1952-53 1953-54 1957-58 1958-59
1963-64 1965-66 1968-69 1969-70 1972-73
1976-77 1977-78 1979-80 1982-83 1986-87
1987-88 1991-92 1994-95 1997-98 2002-03
2004-05 2006-07 2009-10 2014-15 2015-16
 
Average - Weak El Niño
ONI= +0.5 to +0.9
1952-53 1953-54 1958-59 1969-70 1976-77
1977-78 1979-80 2004-05 2006-07 2014-15
 
Average - Moderate El Niño
ONI= +1.0 to +1.4

1951-52  1963-64 1968-69  1986-87 1994-95
2002-03 2009-10      
     
 
Average - Strong El Niño
ONI=  +1.5 to +1.9


1957-58 1965-66 1972-73 1987-88 1991-92
         
Average - Very Strong El Niño
ONI=  > +2.0


1982-83 1997-98 2015-16    
   

 


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