A note from the Doc: The references to planets and constellations on this site are not astrological in nature, merely the clearest way to reference these positions and angles. For more, please read: Astrology or Astronomy »
To find out how planetary motion is linked to the El Nino phenomenon please refer to the article, Intro to el nino , in basics or the article on the Canonical El nino in the weather eye section. The most fundamental element in this technique is to use the retrograde motion of planets over the Pacific Ocean to determine where the warm Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) are most likely to arise. When a planet is moving direct (west to east) the warmth will be to the east of the planet's position and it will be cooler to the west. When a planet is moving retrograde (east to west) the warmth is to the west of the planet and it is cooler to the east. In this article the recent positions of planets across the four sections of the Pacific that are used by climatologists to study el Nino are used to illustrate these connections. The four sections are Nino 4 in the western Pacific, Nino 3.4 in the central Pacific, Nino 3 near Hawaii, and Nino 1+2 near the west coast of the Americas.
The first chart for each section will depict the position of the planet and its motion of direction over that portion of the Pacific for a given time frame. The second chart for each section is a line graph showing the SST patterns for the whole year with the retrograde periods of significance highlighted in color. The eight charts taken together provide a composite view of the motions of the planets over the Pacific during the past year, that have contributed to the current el Nino conditions.
Jupiter was retrograde in the extreme western sections of Nino 4. The retrograde influences pushed the warm water to the west cooling Nino 4 during the looping period.
The Jupiter retrograde motion in the western Pacific was coincident with a cooling trend in Nino 4 even though the overall temperature pattern was above the seasonal average. Once Jupiter slowed down in May and then went direct the SSTs in Nino 4 once again started to climb.
Pluto was retrograde in the extreme eastern section of Nino 3.4. In this position the retrograde influence was pushing from the east to west coincident with the buildup of warm water to the west in Nino 3.4.This motion and the warmth buildup that accompanied it occurred in a significant sector of the Pacific during the important June / July period in the formation of el Nino patterns.
In this chart we can see that the Pluto retrograde period exactly bracketed an increase in warmth in Nino 3.4. The period before the motion had a strong drop in temperatures and the period after the retrograde motion showed a leveling off of temperatures. Even though there was a downward fluctuation in July, the overall temperatures gain was more than one degree in this area of the Pacific during the retrograde motion of Pluto.
As stated in the last section, Pluto was retrograde in the extreme eastern section of Nino 3.4 with warming to the west. However, the retrograde influence was also coincident with a cooling pattern in the seawater to the east in Nino 3 during the same retrograde motion. Nino 3 was the site of significant cooling at that time. Compare the warming in Nino 3.4 to the west, with the cooling in Nino 3 to the east for an image of a classical SST response to retrograde motion.
The line chart for Nino 3 shows that the exact same time period for the warming of Nino 3.4 to the west of Pluto was coincident with the cooling of Nino 3 to the east of Pluto. To see this compare figure 6 with figure 4.
Neptune was retrograde in the extreme western section of Nino 1+2. This retrograde influence was coincident with the westward motion of some very cool water from the far eastern Pacific into Nino 3. Both Nino 3 and Nino 1+2 saw significant cooling at this time
The line chart shows that SSTs on both sides of the retrograde period for Neptune (April and October) in Nino 1+2 were higher than the looping period (May through September) in the eastern Pacific. By October the SSTs were already moving upwards as the planet slowed to reverse its direction over the far eastern Pacific.
The future calls for a retrograde loop of Mercury near Hawaii in Nino 3.4 late in November, This should dampen any eastward flux of warm water in the Eastern Pacific until Mercury goes direct at midmonth in December. Just as Mercury goes direct however it passes across the West Coast and if past conditions are accurate indicators its influence on el Nino should diminish.
However, in the constant fluctuations that dominate these motions just at that time Venus and Mars make a tandem approach to the West Coast during January. These motions should support the unusual rainy period that has unfolded on the West Coast this fall. Look for the Pacific jet to drop to the south regularly during January 05 with wet storms into the southwest and Gulf Coast until the beginning of February when these patterns should diminish.