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El Niño - Overall Temperature Departures

Cold and warm episodes of ENSO are defined by CPC when the threshold of +/- 0.5 C for the Oceanic Nino Index (3 month running average of sea surface temperatures between 5 deg N-5 deg S, 120-170 deg W) is met for a minimum of 5 consecutive over-lapping seasons.

(temperature departures from 1971-2000 30 year normal)

Weak El Niño 0.5-1.0° C ... Moderate El Niño 1.0-1.5° C ... Strong El Niño 1.5° C and warmer

 

El Niño events examined since 1950 have generally resulted in above normal temperature departures in Buffalo during the winter months (Nov-March). For all El Niño events, wintertime monthly temperatures averaged nearly 1.5 deg F above normal. When the events are broken down by strength, a clear trend of greater temperatures departures are shown during stronger events. It should be noted that the strength of the El Niño event is determined by the Climate Prediction Center.


El Niño events examined since 1950 have generally resulted in above normal temperature departures in Rochester during the winter months (Nov-March). For all El Niño events, wintertime monthly temperatures averaged about 1 degree F above normal. When the events are broken down by strength, a clear trend of greater positive temperature departures are shown with increasingly stronger El Niño events. It is interesting to note that temperatures average below normal in Rochester when all weak El Niños were taken into account.


El Niño events examined since 1950 have generally resulted in above normal temperature departures in Watertown during the winter months (Nov-March). When all El Niño events are taken into account, wintertime monthly temperatures averaged just 0.5 deg F above normal. The lack of a more impressive positive temperature departure is largely due to the cold bias that is found when weak El Niño events are examined. Unlike Buffalo and Rochester, mercury readings in Watertown average a full degree below normal when all weak El Niños are taken into account. Conversely, temperatures average nearly 2.5 deg F above normal during strong El Niño events.


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