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El Nino-Southern Oscillation Updates

NOAA National Weather Service / Climate Prediction Center

Date: September 24, 2018

  • ENSO-neutral conditions are present.
  • Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are near-to-above average across most of the Pacific Ocean.
  • There is a 50-55% chance of El Niño onset during the Northern Hemisphere fall 2018 (September-November), increasing to 65-70% during winter 2018-19.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Date: September 11, 2018

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral. However model outlooks continue to indicate El Niño is possible from late spring 2018. When assessed with current observations, the Bureau's ENSO Outlook stands at El Niño WATCH, meaning there is approximately a 50% chance of El Niño forming in the coming months—double the normal chance.

There were only small changes to most indicators of ENSO in the past fortnight. The central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean are warmer than average, with greatest warmth in the central to western Pacific (NINO4; +0.6 °C), while water below the surface remains somewhat warmer than average. Atmospheric indicators generally remain neutral, although trade winds are slightly weaker over parts of the western Pacific. A weakening of the trade winds is one of the most important precursors at this point for any possible El Niño, and will be watched closely.


World Meteorological Organization

Date: September 10, 2018

  • Conditions in the ocean and atmosphere in the tropical Pacific have remained neutral since April 2018;
  • Model predictions and expert opinion indicate that El Niño/Southern Oscillation conditions are about 70% likely to reach weak El Niño levels by the fourth quarter of 2018 and into the Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19;
  • While predictions of El Niño and La Niña have relatively high confidence at this time of the year, some uncertainty is reflected by the broad range of model forecasts currently available, which generally indicate the sea surface temperatures to be 0.6 to 1.2 degrees Celsius above average in the east-central topical Pacific during the period of November 2018 through January 2019. A strong El Niño event appears unlikely.
  • Through Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19, the development of La Niña can be practically ruled out.

International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Date: August 20, 2018

In mid-August 2018, the east-central tropical Pacific waters reflected ENSO-neutral conditions, with near-average SST, slightly lower than a month ago. The key atmospheric variables also suggested neutral conditions, although westerly low-level wind anomalies have recently developed. The subsurface water temperature continued to be above-average. The official CPC/IRI outlook calls for neutral conditions through the rest of northern summer, with a 60% 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 early fall, growing to weak or possibly moderate strength during late fall and winter; most forecasters agree with this scenario.

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