As per a post below, computer models had predicted a major El Nino event for this year. However, reality failed to match the models.
The height of the ocean water relates, in part, to its temperature, and thus is an indicator of the amount of heat stored in the ocean below. As the ocean warms, the water expands and the sea level rises; as it cools, its level falls. Above-normal height variations along the equatorial Pacific indicate El Niño conditions, while below-normal height variations indicate La Niña conditions. The temperature of the upper ocean can have a significant influence on weather patterns and climate.In other words, the oceans have not warmed as predicted by the global warming models and therefore the El Nino models were not accurate as well.
Climatologist Bill Patzert of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, says it's too early to know for sure, but he would not be surprised if the latest Kelvin waves are the "last hurrah" for this much-hoped-for El Niño.Major El Nino events are "much-hoped-for" because major events are connected to episodes of global warming. The last big "spike" in warming occurred during an El Nino year, 1998. We have had no warming (and maybe a slight cooling trend) since then.
Scientists warn that unless these developing weak-to-modest El Niño conditions strengthen, the drought-stricken American West shouldn't expect any relief.In other words, the drought in the West is a natural event, not due to climate change or global warming. It is, in effect, related to the absence of warming.