BWS Blog


Will El Niño Survive This Summer?

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 3:09PM


As we head into the summer season, there is a lot of talk about El Niño and how it will impact temperatures, and therefore demand for natural gas. Typically, summers in an El Niño are tame in terms of national demand levels, with the best risks for heat in the West, a cooler lean from the Rockies to the Midwest, and variability in the East. This can be seen by looking at the average composite of temperature anomalies in El Niño summers since 2000.

natural gas commodity weather

The recent pattern has not been very El Niño-like, as the West has been very cool, while the East has been quite warm to hot for this time of the year.

natural gas commodity weather

We had seen the water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific cool slightly as well, raising some questions about the durability of the event. This is important, as risks to summer outlooks are to the hotter side if El Niño were to die off completely. The data this week, however, did show a small re-strengthening of the event, as you can see highlighted with the red arrow in this image:

natural gas commodity weather

This warming is in response to a downwelling wave moving across the Pacific, as these often lead to warming of the equatorial waters.

But does this re-strengthening mean El Niño is a "done deal"? Not so fast. The warming usually extends into the subsurface as well, and when looking at anomalies there, we see the warming has been quite weak compared to previous downwelling events, such as the one from Mid-February to early March.

natural gas commodity weather

We have also seen some of the long range models become "less enthusiastic" about El Niño. One example is the CFS, which had been showing a rather healthy event not too long ago, and now keeps El Niño as a rather weak entity.

natural gas commodity weather

A lot is riding on what ultimately happens with this event over the next few weeks in the natural gas world. Our research can help you keep one step ahead of potential market-moving changes. Sign up for a 10-day free trial here to take a closer look at the products we have to offer that can add value to your operation.