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Welcome to the ENSO Blog: We’re diving into the blogging world!

Several weeks ago, the NOAA Climate Program Office and signed off on our idea to host a blog dedicated to the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). In a rather gutsy (some would argue delusional) move, they turned over the keys to a team of climate scientists–actual nerds!–to discuss the current El Niño Watch and offer perspectives and analysis on the progression of El Niño and related topics.

Here is our team...

  • Anthony (Tony) Barnston is the chief forecaster at the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate and Society (within the Earth Institute of Columbia University). He has 30 years of experience in ENSO and seasonal climate prediction, in addition to being an accomplished researcher studying related topics; 
  • Emily Becker is a researcher at the NOAA National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center (CPC) and its partner, Innovim, whose recent focus is on National Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) predictions of U.S. temperature & precipitation, as well as ENSO; 
  • Michelle L’Heureux has led the team in charge of routinely producing NOAA/NWS/CPC’s ENSO updates and outlooks since 2006. Like her collaborators, she also spends time on applied research projects related to ENSO and other patterns of climate variability;

… with additional support from the team and especially the News & Features managing editor, Rebecca Lindsey, who will ensure that we write in complete sentences and not entirely in mathematical equations.

We plan to define terms and provide supporting material, but apologies in advance when we mess up. Remember, we are nerds. We will pay attention to your comments, so don’t be afraid to ask us “what is a Kelvin wave?” We will either try to address it in a future blog post or directly in the comments section.

We are new to the blogging world, but we hope to draw inspiration from the weather and climate blogs that have come before us, such as Capital Weather Gang and Jeff Master’s WunderBlog, but from the perspective of operational climate scientists.

We hope this will be both a fun and informative experience for our readers, and we recognize we will not succeed without you, so please give us your constructive feedback and offer suggestions. While we remain editors, we will rely on other contributors, who will weigh in with their own perspectives and research not only specific to ENSO, but on related topics such as associated societal impacts. Thanks again for reading and joining in!

And with that introduction, let’s dive into our first official blog post: What is the El Niño-Southern Oscillation in nutshell?


Hello, do you think there are going to be more hurricanes in the east pac this season? If so, is there a prediction of how many (uncertain though it may be)? Thank you

NOAA’s Hurricane Outlook comes out on May 22. After that, we hope to have a post here  from one of the lead forecasters about how ENSO does/doesn’t influence the outlooks in the Pacific and Atlantic basins. Stay tuned.

I have been reading about the 65% chance of an El Nino starting in Summer of 2014. If it happens, what are the predicted effects of an El Nino in the Summer and in he Fall? Could it actually bring rain and relief the drought in CA before winter 2015? Thank you, Cris. I am excited about this new blog.

Summer and early fall are typically quite dry in California. Therefore, even if El Nino develops during the summer, potential drought relief wouldn't be expected until later fall at the earliest. El Nino impacts over the U. S. will be explored in a future blog post.

In reply to by Cristina Sandoval

El Niño would be welcome after 5 years without rains in the central región of Chile. Thank you for the blogs.

Hi: Do you think that this year might not be so "typical" enso ? or CP ENSO is coming from the Time-longitude section of SST anomalies (5°N-5°S) chart, it seems that it warm everywhere in eq. Thanks Hsin-Hsing

I really hope that you can build an Chinese web page so that we can access the news more easily!

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