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An anomalous anomaly: El Nino 2007 - 01.18.07


The El Nino now in progress is not producing the classic weather conditions it is known for. What planetary factors are working in this curious phenomenon?


There are a number of planetary patterns that are often coincident with the climate anomaly known as El Nino. Several of them are currently unfolding. These patterns often accompany a typical El Nino presence on the West Coast and the Southeastern US. El Nino is a rhythmic anomalous pattern in the Pacific that generally means that the West Coast and the Southeast coast are unusually wet during the winter months. So, since there is an El Nino off of Peru at this time we could ask, where is the wet? California is in the middle of a very dry freeze pattern that is threatening records in the sunshine state. The Southeast, that is normally very wet in El Nino years, is presently sitting under the mother of all high pressure domes. The Central States and the Corn Belt that are usually on the dry side during El Nino winters are being pounded by ice storms and freezing rain. It appears that the El Nino anomaly is an anomalous El Nino this year.


Fig.1


Fig.1
transiting planets for 1997-98 El Nino

From a planetary perspective, the pattern that normally accompanies the unfolding of an El Nino is based on the clustering of several planets in the eastern Pacific in the fall or winter of a given year. There are many examples linking El Nino and these planetary patterns. As an example, the first chart depicts the February 1998 cluster of planets of the record El Nino of February1998. A cluster such as the one seen in the eastern Pacific is known to astronomers as a syzygy. The significance of a syzygy over the eastern Pacific is that when any planet crosses the West Coast of the United States it is always at a maximum southerly declination in its orbit. This is because when using the technique of geodetic equivalency, the West Coast of the United States is linked to Sagittarius. In Sagittarius, the Sun reaches maximum southerly declination. All planets following the solar ecliptic therefore reach maximum southerly declination in the place where the Sun reaches that maximum southerly latitude. To place this on the earth, any planet moving across the West Coast of the United States would reach its maximum southerly declination as it transited the coast.


Fig.2


Fig.2
split jet pattern for North America

When reaching maximum southerly declination a planet tends to influence the polar jet stream in a predictable way. The track of a planet approaching the West Coast has the planet moving ever southeastward as it approaches a landfall. This southeastward track often draws the polar jet to the south in the eastern Pacific during the time of the transit. This is especially the case when more than one planet is making a transit. Climate wise, a more southerly polar jet normally brings storms into the southern latitudes of the West Coast by creating a split jet pattern that is the El Nino signature for North America. In the second chart the split jet is seen along with the usual weather features that make up an El Nino year. It can be seen that the split jet brings moisture to British Columbia, California, the Southwest and the Southeast while the Pacific Northwest and Midwest remain rather dry and mild. In the standard El Nino pattern the brunt of the polar jet influence tracks to the south while a more temperate maritime influence moves through the British Columbia and the Canadian Plains on the continent. The split polar jet stream pattern is most often accompanied by a syzygy of planets transiting the West Coast in the late autumn or the winter.


Fig.3


Fig.3
winter 2007 syzygy

In this winter of 2007 there is a whole convoy of planets in syzygy presently moving across the eastern Pacific. Starting from the west, Jupiter is over Hawaii. It was crossed by Venus early in December and now Venus is moving across Central America. Then, later in December, Jupiter was crossed by Mars and Mercury moving in tandem. Mercury rapidly shot by Mars just as Mars had passed Jupiter, and is now far out ahead of these two planets. All of these crossings were at or near maximum southerly declination for all of these planets. At the time of these complex crossing patterns, the east Pacific polar jet showed signs of delivering the El Nino moisture patterns to the West Coast. Early rains in December resulted from the more typical split jet pattern shown in figure 2. Then in mid to late December the polar jet began to move into a low ridge formation on the West Coast that started to deliver very strong storms to the PNW as well as blizzard patterns to the High Plains through an abnormal or anomalous El Nino pattern. The persistent low to mid latitude ridge, forming near Hawaii and extending east into the coast, was pushing the split jet pattern to the east so that storms from the PNW were dropping south into the inter mountain west and then reforming over Denver as blizzards when they picked up moisture from the western Gulf of Mexico. In a normal El Nino pattern these storms would drop into the West Coast before continuing eastward.

Seen from a planetary perspective, the low ridge began to push against the coast as Jupiter moved through a prolonged and persistent sequence of high pressure values on the jet curves over the eastern Pacific. This pattern is shown in figure 4.


Fig.4


Fig.4
low ridge of high pressure near Hawaii

In mid December the influence of high pressure from the low ridge kept temperatures on the West Coast mild. It was 64° in Sacramento on December 14. However, as the Jupiter influence kept the ridge persisting through the end of December, the clear skies created a pattern where the daily temperatures on the West Coast would plummet in the evening and then move up again during the day to very warm levels. The persistence of the low ridge blocked the typical El Nino rains from falling in California. Currently, in the middle of January, Sacramento is 4" below normal rainfall. The persistent ridge has now served to bring abnormally cold temperatures to California threatening many crops. This cold pattern is depicted by the blue arrow. The red arrow shows the path of the tropical jet stream far to the south entering the US through Texas. Here the jet is picking up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico that is fueling the unusual snowstorms in the High Plains and the recent ice storms along the Gulf coast.


Fig.5


Fig.5
far southern jets / West Coast- January 2007

To return to El Nino, it was expected that the transit of the West Coast by Venus in late December and the transit of Mercury in early January would bring the jet stream down the coast to dissolve the low ridge from Jupiter. The southerly placed jet has been the pattern in past El Nino years. However, in early January when the jet stream actually did start to drop to the south a peculiar pattern emerged that was not typical of El Nino. On January 2, 2007 Mercury crossed the West Coast. Venus, having already crossed the coast in December, was over the Rockies and Mars was approaching the coast from the west. This pattern had three planets in the longitude of the West Coast. In the past that kind of configuration has always resulted in a southerly storm jet into California with resulting rains coming into the coast. However, this January, instead of bringing rains into California, the storm jet shot past California to lock into a far southern track. Instead of turning east into California the southern leg made a turn towards the east over Central America (red arrow). The northern leg of the split jet, instead of making a landfall in British Columbia has been coming into the coast in Oregon, That is a much more southerly latitude than a typical El Nino. This means that both the northern and southern legs of the jet are displaced much farther to the south than normal even for an El Nino pattern.

To summarize, in previous El Nino patterns the passage of Mercury, Venus and Mars across the West Coast has been accompanied by the polar jet moving south into California during December, January and February. This pattern has brought rain in its wake. The current extreme southerly position of both branches of the jet is not a typical El Nino. What could be the cause? Looking at the positions of outer planets revealed no significant aspects, other than the Jupiter influence on the low level ridge, that could shed light on this phenomenon. Then it was realized that in the winter of 2007 there is a particularly significant lunar cycle that seems to be amplifying the southerly declination of Mercury, Venus and Mars. That pattern is the lunar high path or what was known in the ancient world as the major standstill, the moon's equivalent of the solar solstice. This is illustrated by the sweeping green arc in figure 5. This shows the moon at an extreme southerly position as it transits the West Coast. It can also be seen that Mars, Mercury and Venus are also at a very low arc. This combination of lunar and planetary extreme declination events is coincident with the extreme southern displacement of the two branches of the polar jet stream. The El Nino has gone south, with the result being that California is in the dry middle of the split jet.


Fig.6


Fig.6
high lunar path or major standstill

The lunar high path pattern of maximum declination at both north and south culmination results from the eccentric placement of the lunar orbit in relation to the solar ecliptic. The result of this complex geometry is that every 18.6 years the moon is at maximum southern/northern declination at a latitude 5° farther south/north than the maximum declination of the sun at the winter/summer solstice. This is illustrated in figure 6. 2007 is such a year. The lunar orbit achieves a maximum southerly declination every month in the longitude of the West Coast. This means that the maximum southerly declination paths of Mercury, Venus and Mars are joined and amplified every month as the Moon moves through Sagittarius. The radically southern placement of the southern leg of the polar jet has been a precise image of the radically southerly motions of the moon every month as the Moon approaches the coast of North America. From this it appears that this year both legs are displaced south due to the combined southerly declination of all of these planets. The result is extreme dryness in California. The next question is, is there any relief for this dryness?

It looks like when Venus and Mercury have moved farther to the east and are transiting the Midwest in February there is a good chance that a more normal El Nino pattern will evolve. Evidence of that shift will be when the current ridge that is centered off of the coast of California makes its way northward into the PNW. A high in that position would push the storm jet in the eastern Pacific, south into California bringing much needed rains. As a mini signature of this kind of shift it will be useful to watch the eastern displacement of the present far southern jet as the Moon transits the eastern Pacific in the next few days. It passed Hawaii yesterday. It should be well past the coast in two days. The far southern position of the split jet should move to the east following this lunar passage. If it does move east then that is a signal that, as Venus and Mars move east, the high over the southeast should also move to the east giving the low ridge off of the West Coast a chance of moving east. Most likely the shift of Venus, Mercury and Mars will allow the low ridge in the eastern Pacific to move east into the mountains and pinch off sending an enclosed high to the north. That should send the storm jet into California as January turns to February.