If You Haven't, Try Our Daily Grain Market Reports FREE for 30 Days!

Cause and Effect of El Niño and La Niña Episodes Part 2

This is the second part of the article. Other parts: Part 1 & Part 3


July 2019


The Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society issued its monthly EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION update this morning. Their official statement:


ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Advisory Synopsis: A transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is expected in the next month or two, with ENSO-neutral most likely to continue through Northern Hemisphere fall and winter. During June, El Niño was reflected in the continued presence of above average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the central equatorial Pacific Ocean. However, SST anomalies across most of the eastern Pacific decreased during the month. Upper-ocean subsurface equatorial temperatures were above average at the beginning of June, but returned to near average by the end of the month. The traditional and equatorial Southern Oscillation Indices were slightly negative. Overall, oceanic and atmospheric conditions were consistent with a weakening El Niño.


The graph of the temperature variation from normal of the Equatorial Pacific surface:


When the water temperature is declining fairly rapidly, the Corn Belt weather tends to be drier and warmer than normal within 20 to 30 days. It got hot and dry here in West Central Ohio about fifteen days ago. I can see why looking at the graph. When the water temperature has been a half degree C below normal for 60 consecutive days, that is the definition of a La Niña, which brings much above normal temperatures and much less than normal rainfall to the Corn Belt and high dollar corn if it is summer. It is too late in the growing season for a La Niña to develop this growing season to reduce corn and bean yields, but the the rapidly declining water temperature will dry out the Corn Belt and make us hurt enough for rain that corn and bean prices will spike higher due to a lack of rain. Throw-in the quality of the stands, the unknown number of non-planted acres, and now drier weather than we would like to see coming after a wet spring, today's ENSO report is just another reason not to be pricing corn, beans and wheat.


The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued this two days ago: The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently neutral—neither El Niño nor La Niña. While the possibility of El Niño can't be completely ruled out for 2019, the tropical Pacific Ocean is expected to remain in an ENSO-neutral phase over the coming months meaning the ENSO Outlook remains at INACTIVE.


That means they expect normal weather. I will add normal weather includes a weather scare.


August 2019


On August 8th, ENSO Diagnostics Analysis was issued by the Climate Prediction Center/NCEP, National Weather Service. Their official statement:


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION


ENSO Alert System Status: Final El Niño Advisory


Synopsis: El Niño has transitioned to ENSO-neutral, which is most likely to continue through Northern Hemisphere winter 2019-20 (50-55% chance).


The graph of Equatorial Pacific surface water temperatures:


It appears to me we are back to a normal weather pattern with a bias to the dry side if water temperatures continue decline this month. Dry top soil increases the possibility of frost damage, whereas wet soils decrease the possibility of frost damage. That will become more important as we move into September.


September 2019


ENSO Diagnostics Analysis was issued by the Climate Prediction Center/NCEP, National Weather Service. Their official statement:


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION issued by CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society


ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored during the Northern Hemisphere fall 2019 (~75% chance), continuing through spring 2020 (55-60% chance).


When the water temperature is less than half a degree C above or less than half a degree C below normal, the world can expect normal weather, which normal weather includes a lot of aberrations throughout the world. I have noticed over the years that a consistent decline in water temperature tends to give a La Nina effect to world (and hot & dry in the Corn Belt) weather and a consistent rise in water temperature tends to give world weather an El Nino effect (cool and wet in the Corn Belt). There have been parts of the Corn Belt bone dry the past 30 to 45 days and you can see the water temperature has been in a decline since about the third week in July.


Australia harvested a wheat crop last year half of normal because of drought. This year’s Aussie wheat crop is expected to be more than 10% smaller than last year’s half crop due to drought. Brazil‘s dry season normally starts in June and ends in October. This year’s dry season has been dry over a wider area than normal and is expected to last longer than normal. By the way, Australia expects to be importing soybeans for the first time ever due to drought conditions reducing their small soybeans crop.


Brazil’s farmers will not plant corn, beans and cotton until the rainy season begins. If the rainy season begins the last week of September, it will mean harvest will be earlier than normal and that means the second crop corn will get planted early resulting in pollination with ear-fill progressing nicely before it turns dry again in June. Two years ago, the start to Brazil’s rainy season was late and the result was the first and second crops of corn produced 649 million bushels less corn than the previous year. Last year, the rainy season came early and the two corn crops produced a record large 2019 corn crop which was about 750 million bushels more than last year’s corn crops (see the last line on the S&D).


Thus, a major factor in the price of corn into next spring will be when will Brazil’s farmers start planting beans in the coming 30 to 45 days. The later the beans get planted, the later the second crop corn will be planted. The later the second crop corn gets planted, the smaller Brazil’s 2020 corn harvest will be. Typically, the first corn crop is about 20% of total corn production and the second crop is 80% of Brazil’s production.


October 2019


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION 10 October 2019


ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored during the Northern Hemisphere fall 2019 (~85% chance), continuing through spring 2020(55-60% chance).


The graph of Equatorial Pacific surface temperature for the past twelve months:


With water temperatures no more than half a degree C above or below normal, that gives us a neutral ENSO outlook. However, if the water temperature continues to rise sharply as it has since the middle of September, all of the Corn Belt will soon turn wetter than normal whereas Central Brazil will continue warmer and drier than normal. The rising water temperature also would likely soon cause above normal rainfall in Argentina and Southern Brazil.


Note: Weather prediction is NOT an exact science, but I have found this graph to be the most accurate long-range weather predictor of world weather. This ENSO tracking prompted me to predict 2019 spring would be wet. Weather changes are generally two weeks to six weeks after the water temperature pattern is established. Thus, the dry parts of the Corn Belt should start seeing above normal rain any week now and the already wet areas of the Midwest will continue wet.


November 2019


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION issued by

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS & International Research Institute for Climate and Society

14 November 2019


ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored during the Northern Hemisphere winter 2019-20 (~70% chance), continuing through spring 2020 (60 to 65% chance). The chances for El Niño are predicted to be near 25% during the winter and spring.


The rapidly rising temperature of the Equatorial Pacific from late September to the middle of October followed be steep decline of the water temperature confirms how out-of-whack the world’s weather pattern truly is.


As the water temperature declines rapidly, we will tend to see La Nina conditions. When the water temperature rises rapidly, we tend to have El Nino conditions. When we see both in the same month, predicting accurately weather is not possible.


December 2019


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION issued by CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society


12 December 2019 Their official statement:


ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored during the Northern Hemisphere winter 2019-20 (70% chance), continuing through spring 2020(~65% chance).



I agree the ENSO outlook is for normal weather this winter, but the weather pattern truly is out of whack.


January 2020


ENSO updates are issued by US government agencies the second Thursday of every month. This morning's report summary is below. Their official statement:


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION is issued by CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society


9 January 2020: ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere spring 2020 (~60% chance), continuing through summer 2020(~50% chance).


The graph of Equatorial Pacific temperatures for the past twelve months:


While I agree the ENSO information is neutral, the fact that ocean temperature was rising sharply in December would indicate January weather will produce above normal rainfall for the US Midwest, Southeast as well as the Desert Southwest (Southern California and Arizona into New Mexico), Western Europe and Central Brazil, but below normal rainfall for Southern Brazil, Argentina, Eastern Europe, Indonesia and Malaysia.


Indonesia and Malaysia produce the vast majority of palm oil, the number one competitor with soybean oil. Of course, above normal rainfall is great for Brazil's crops, but if that extra rain continues into the main part of the harvest, it is a big problem. Their beans are 15 to 17% moisture even with normal rainfall!


13 February 2020: ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere spring 2020 (~60% chance), continuing through summer 2020 (~50% chance).


The graph of Equatorial Pacific temperatures for the past twelve months:


In my opinion, based upon decades of weather watching, ENSO is the most accurate 30 to 60 day weather forecast on the planet. When the Equatorial Pacific water temperatures are a half degree C or more above normal for 60 consecutive days, above normal rain will fall in the Corn Belt, especially across the northern and down the eastern areas of the Corn Belt; call it Great Lakes area to the Rockies and south to the Ohio River in the east with Lake Huron dead center.


I respectfully disagree with the CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society that ENSO neutral weather will occur in the Corn Belt for the foreseeable future.


12 March 2020 ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION issued by CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society


Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored for the Northern Hemisphere spring 2020 (~65% chance), continuing through summer 2020 (~55% chance). During February 2020, above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were evident across the western, central, and far eastern Pacific Ocean.


The graph of Equatorial Pacific temperatures for the past twelve months:


While the professional weather people say the ENSO indicators are neutral, I will predict above normal rainfall for much of the Corn Belt, especially the Eastern and Northern areas. If the water temperatures continue to rise, which it looks like they probably will because the trend is up, Western Corn Belt was get above normal rainfall as well.


However, I do not predict any rainfall like last spring because the water temperature is not as warm. Take a look at the graph issued a year ago this month:


9 April 2020: ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


ENSO Update: The monthly ENSO update was issued this morning. Their official statement:


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION issued by

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society 9 April 2020


ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored for the Northern Hemisphere summer 2020 (~60% chance), remaining the most likely outcome through autumn.


The graph of Equatorial Pacific temperatures:


You can see the temperature is declining and it is less than a quarter degree C above normal and well below a half degree above, the threshold for wet weather in the Corn Belt. The next 30 to 45 days in the Midwest should be pretty normal, maybe even a bit drier than normal because the water temperature is falling so rapidly. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology has eight computer programs to track ENSO changes. On the 31st of March, two of those eight programs predicted a La Nina episode this late spring and early summer. La Nina brings hot and dry weather to the Corn Belt… think 2012, 2008, 1988 and 1983…


La Nina occurs when the water temperature is a half degree C or more below normal for a period of sixty consecutive days.


14 May 2020 ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active



ENSO Update: The monthly ENSO update was issued this morning. Their official statement:

EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION issued by

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society 14 May 2020


ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


Synopsis: There is a ~65% chance of ENSO-neutral during Northern Hemisphere summer 2020, with chances decreasing through the autumn (to 45-50%).


Predicting weather with accuracy is the key to predicting grain prices.


La NIÑA brings drought with above normal temperatures to the Corn Belt. The 1983, 1988, 2002 and 2012 Corn Belt droughts were La NIÑA years. The 1980 Corn Belt drought was caused by Mt. St. Helen's eruption on 18 May 1980. La NIÑA episodes curtail Atlantic Ocean hurricanes.


This is what I have learned:


Rapidly falling water temperatures will bring like La NIÑA weather for a few weeks.


Rapidly rising water temperatures will bring El NIÑO like weather for a few weeks.


If the water temperature is a half degree C below normal for 60 consecutive days, a La NIÑA episode has already begun.


If the water temperature is a half degree C above normal for 60 consecutive days, an El NIÑO episode has already begun.


On 12 September 2018, I wrote: "One must conclude that above normal rainfall will continue in much of the Corn Belt, especially the Eastern Corn Belt, into the fall."


On 10 January 2019, wrote, "El Nino will continue to dominate the world weather for the next month or two."


On 14 February 2019, I wrote, "We can reasonably see a warming pattern for three to four weeks followed by a cooler and wetter than normal spring."


On 14 March 2019, I wrote, "It looks to be a wet spring."


On April 10 2019, I wrote, "The graph of Pacific equatorial water temperature shows the temperature declined about .25 degrees C in March, but is still nearly 1.2 degrees above normal and well above the threshold of half a degree C to maintain the El Nino Episode. The decline of the temperature from any level often provides the Corn Belt with drier weather, so we may get a very nice window for planting corn, especially if the water temperature continues to decline."


On May 8 2019, I wrote, "With the water temperature in such a steep decline, whatever weather you have been having the past month, soon, certainly in June and probably before June, you will have the opposite."


If you think my predictions were pretty much spot on for a weather forecaster, keep in mind all I did was look at the chart of the water temperature and read what the experts said. Here is the website and you can do the same at:


http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/analysis_monitoring/enso_advisory/index.shtml

By the way, here is the water temperature chart from a year ago. Note there is a difference:


11 June 2020 ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION issued by

CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS & the International Research Institute for Climate and Society


ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active


Synopsis: There is a ~60% chance of ENSO-neutral during Northern Hemisphere summer 2020, with roughly equal chances (~40-50%) of La Niña or ENSO-neutral during the autumn and winter 2020-21.


Overall, the combined oceanic and atmospheric system remained consistent with ENSO-neutralduring the summer, but then chances become roughly split between La Niña and ENSO-neutral beginning with the August-October season. The dynamical model guidance leans toward La Niña, along with ocean conditions that are somewhat favorable for the development of La Niña. In summary, there is a ~60% chance of ENSO-neutral during Northern Hemisphere summer 2020, with roughly equal chances of La Niña or ENSO-neutral during the autumn and winter 2020-21.


Roger's Comment:


This graph means, at the best, there will be longer than normal periods of hot and dry weather in the Corn Belt. At the worst, it means there will be a drought of such magnitude there will be substantial yield reduction. The key is the water temperature being more than a half degree C below normal. The longer it stays more than half a degree below normal, the more likely the Corn Belt will have hot and dry weather. However, rising water

temperature from any level tends to bring above normal rainfall and cooler temperatures. If the water temperature keeps rising, corn yields will be an all-time high in 2020.One thing for certain, the weather will be out of whack June through September if not longer.


9 July 2020 ENSO Alert System Status: La Niña Watch


EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION (ENSO) DIAGNOSTIC DISCUSSION

issued by CLIMATE PREDICTION CENTER/NCEP/NWS and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society 9 July 2020


Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored to continue through the summer, with a 50-55% chance of La Niña development during Northern Hemisphere fall 2020 and continuing through winter 2020-21 (~50% chance).


Based largely on dynamical model guidance, the forecaster consensus slightly favors La Niña development during the August-October season, and then lasting through the remainder of 2020. In summary, ENSO-neutral is favored to continue through the summer, with a 50-55% chance of La Niña development during Northern Hemisphere fall 2020 and continuing through winter 2020-21 (~50% chance).


The chart of the temperature of the surface of the Equatorial Pacific for the past 12 months:


La Niña episodes bring hot and dry weather to the Corn Belt.


The La Niña standard used to be 60 consecutive days with water temperature more than a half degree C below normal. With today’s computers and satellites, the “official” onset of a La Niña is much more complicated than that with wind speeds and direction, Indian Ocean temperature and wind data, etc.


However, I have been following ENSO data for decades and I can tell you that, for the most part, the only ENSO data that seriously impacts Corn Belt weather is the water temperature’s variance from normal and how fast the water temperature is changing.


The Corn Belt is presently hot and mostly dry because the water temperature was one degree below normal in the middle of May. However, the rapid warming since the latter part of May through June is the reason the Corn Belt has had so many “pop-up” rain cells for the past several weeks and it appears those scattered and unpredictable showers will continue as the water temperature approaches normal very rapidly. This water temperature indicates a return to more normal weather in August if the temperature continues to rise or stays less than a half degree below normal.



Cause and Effect of El Niño and La Niña
.
Download • 1.67MB

Recent Posts

See All