El Nino Case Study 1997-1998

In 1996 there were several events which allowed a warm plume of water to bring up cool temperatures in the tropical eastern Pacific in the area between the dateline and Hawaii. This warming trend started early in 1996 in a very cool ocean and was the seed of the great El nino of 1997-98. Only the last portion of this early warming is depicted in the animation.

The first chart shows that in October 96 Uranus and Neptune went direct in nino 1+2. The plume of moderately warm water in nino 3 entered nino 1+2. The pool of warmth moved against the coast and continued to warm in nino 1+2 through November into December 96. This was the seed of the el nino.

In December 96 a Mercury loop in eastern nino 3 was coincident with a rising of SSTs in that area. This loop was counter to the direct motion of Neptune, Jupiter and Uranus in nino 1+2.

In January 1997 Mercury went direct and a warming trend in the eastern Pacific gathered momentum as Jupiter crossed Neptune late in January in nino 3. Five planets in the eastern Pacific were now moving direct.

In February 97 Mars went into a retrograde loop in nino 5. This was coincident with a rise in temperatures in that area. Jupiter now passed Uranus moving direct in eastern nino 3. Mercury and Venus passed into the Atlantic.

In March 97 Pluto went retrograde in central nino 3.4. This was coincident with a cooling in eastern nino 3.4 and a warming trend in western nino 3.4. SSTs were on the rise in that area.

In April 97 Mars went direct in nino 5, warming nino 5. Pluto went retrograde in nino 3.4 warming that area. These motions were coincident with a greater warming in the western Pacific especially in the western part of nino 3.4.

In May 97 Uranus and Neptune in nino 1+2 went retrograde and a strong warming of nino 3 commenced. This met the impulse for warming in nino 3.4 and temperatures began to climb over the whole of the Pacific eastward from the dateline.

In June and July Mars transited the Pacific approaching Pluto at the dateline as the warmth plume broadened and the temperatures continued to grow. By the end of July the all important dateline area in nino 3.4 was warming radically. In mid June Jupiter in nino 1+2 went retrograde. This along with Uranus and Neptune retrograde put a block in nino 3 as temperatures there soared.

In August 97 Pluto went direct at the dateline . This was perfect timing for the canonical el nino as Mars slowly approached from the west. Mars and Pluto were now both moving from west to east in mid Pacific. This was moving against the trio of Neptune, Uranus and Jupiter moving retrograde in nino 1+2. These conditions deepened through September as the eastern Pacific continued to warm. Mercury went retrograde in August then direct in September in nino 5.

In the very beginning of October 97 Mars crossed Pluto at the dateline along with Venus as Mercury approached from the west. Warmth continued to stream eastward from the mid Pacific into nino 3 and nino 1+2. Also at this time Jupiter, Uranus and Neptune in nino 1+2 went direct. This pattern now had seven planets moving in direct motion in the very warm eastern Pacific in the fall. It was now obvious to observers that a memorable el nino was underway. Alarmed predictions filled the media.

In November 97 these conditions stabilized with an enormous pool of warm water hovering off of the west coast of the US. The hesitation of the el nino at this point had forecasters wondering if the event was actually going to happen.

In the beginning of December Mercury went into a retrograde loop in nino 3.4. Later Venus went into a retrograde loop in western nino 1+2. The el nino then definitely showed signs of fizzling as the warm water did not make it into the coast and the typical patterns connected to el nino did not emerge. This was despite the fact that the whole eastern Pacific was in a record warmth condition. Late in December 97 Mercury went direct and some “very unusual” storms began to limp into the west coast. However, this was not the el nino which the enormity of the Pacific warming was predicting.

The hesitation lasted through all of January 98 and it looked as if the el nino of the century was going to once again evade the forecasters with some approach avoidance techniques. Some unusual storms which brought more of a mist than rain came into the coast. SSTs were very high but there seemed to be something lacking in the intensity of the el nino.

On February 5, 1998 Venus went direct in nino 3 and the storm window into the west coast suddenly opened up with a passion. The retrograde motion of Venus seemed to be blocking an enormous amount of warm water in the eastern Pacific from delivering its load to the west coast of the Americas. Apparently once Venus moved into direct motion the block to the deliverance was taken away and the Great El Nino of 1997/98 entered the record books.

The whole phenomenon.

Learn More about Dennis Klocek’s weather studies Also see his older site at docweather.com.

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