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El Nino-Southern Oscillation Updates

NOAA National Weather Service / Climate Prediction Center

Date: November 5, 2018

  • ENSO-neutral conditions are present.
  • Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are above average across most of the Pacific Ocean.
  • El Niño is favored to form in the next couple of months and continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2018-19 (70-75% chance).

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Date: October 23, 2018

The Bureau's ENSO Outlook remains at El Niño ALERT, indicating there is approximately a 70% chance of El Niño occurring in 2018—around triple the normal likelihood. In the Indian Ocean there are signs that a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is underway.

An El Niño and a positive IOD increase the likelihood of a dry and warm end to the year across most of Australia. They also raise the risk of heatwaves and bushfire weather in the south, while there are typically fewer tropical cyclones in the Australian region.

The surface of the tropical Pacific has warmed over the past month due to weakening of the trade winds. Sub-surface waters also remain warmer than average, increasing the potential for further warming at the surface. However, atmospheric indicators in the tropical Pacific such as the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), cloudiness and trade winds, are yet to indicate that the ocean and atmosphere have coupled and hence are reinforcing each other. A positive feedback between the ocean and atmosphere is what defines and sustains an El Niño event.

International climate models suggest further warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean is likely, increasing the chance of coupling occurring in the coming months. Six of eight models predict El Niño thresholds will be met or exceeded in November.

International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Date: October 19, 2018

While ENSO-neutral conditions prevailed in September, signs of El Niño increased in early October 2018 as east-central tropical Pacific SSTs warmed to weak El Niño levels. Also, low level winds showed westerly anomalies in most of the last three weeks. The subsurface water temperature continued to be above-average, and increased further recently. The official CPC/IRI outlook calls for a 70-75% chance of El Niño development during October/November, continuing through winter 2018-19. An El Niño watch is in effect. New forecasts of statistical and dynamical models collectively favor imminent El Niño development, most likely weak to moderate strength, continuing through winter.

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.
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