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El Nino-Southern Oscillation Updates

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Date: July 17, 2018

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral. However, the Bureau's ENSO Outlook is at El Niño WATCH, which means the likelihood of El Niño forming in 2018 is approximately 50%; double the normal chance.

Oceanic ENSO indicators remain neutral, but show a general trend towards El Niño. Sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are about 0.5 degrees warmer than average. Likewise, sub-surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific are warmer than average, although these have eased slightly in the past fortnight. Atmospheric indicators remain neutral, but the 30-day Southern Oscillation Index has been negative since the middle of June.

Most international climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest the tropical Pacific will continue to warm. Five of eight models indicate this warming will reach El Niño levels in the southern hemisphere spring, while a sixth model reaches El Niño levels in December.

NOAA National Weather Service / Climate Prediction Center

Date: July 16, 2018

  • ENSO-neutral conditions are present.
  • Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are near-to-above average across most of the Pacific Ocean. 
  • ENSO-neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere summer 2018, with the chance for El Niño increasing to about 65% during fall, and to about 70% during winter 2018-19.

International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Date: July 12, 2018

In early July 2018, the east-central tropical Pacific waters reflected ENSO-neutral conditions, with slightly above average SST. The key atmospheric variables also suggested neutral conditions. The subsurface water temperature continued to be above-average. The official CPC/IRI outlook calls for neutral conditions through northern summer season, with a 65% chance of El Niño development during fall, rising to 70% for winter 2018-19. An El Niño watch is in effect. The latest forecasts of statistical and dynamical models collectively favor weak El Niño development by late summer, growing to weak or moderate strength during fall and winter; forecasters are largely buying into this scenario now that the spring barrier is largely passed.

World Meteorological Organization

Date: June 14, 2018

  • The La Niña of 2017-18 ended in April 2018, and conditions in the ocean and atmosphere in the tropical Pacific have mostly returned to neutral;
  • Model predictions and expert opinion indicate that El Niño/Southern Oscillation conditions are about 75% likely to remain neutral through August of 2018;
  • Through August, while there is a small chance of El Niño development, the re-emergence of La Niña can be practically ruled out;
  • While more than half of the models surveyed predict the development of weak El Niño later in 2018, these predictions are subject to a high level of uncertainty characteristic of long-lead forecasts made at this time of year.
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