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El Nino-Southern Oscillation Updates

International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Date: February 19, 2018

In mid-February 2018, the tropical Pacific reflected La Niña conditions, with SSTs in the east-central tropical Pacific in the range of weak to moderate La Niña and most key atmospheric variables showing patterns suggestive of La Niña conditions. The official CPC/IRI outlook calls for La Niña continuing through at least early spring, followed by a likely return to neutral conditions around mid-spring. Support for this scenario is provided by the latest forecasts of statistical and dynamical models.

NOAA National Weather Service / Climate Prediction Center

Date: February 19, 2018

  • La Niña conditions are present.
  • Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are below average across the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. 
  • A transition from La Niña to ENSO-neutral is most likely during the Northern Hemisphere spring (~55% chance of ENSO-neutral during the March-May season).

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Date: February 13, 2018

The La Niña in the Pacific Ocean continues to decline. Sea surface temperatures in the central tropical Pacific have warmed steadily since late December, with most models forecasting La Niña will end early in the southern hemisphere autumn.

El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators continue to show at least some La Niña characteristics. Sea surface temperatures indicate a weak La Niña pattern, with the coolest waters concentrated in the eastern Pacific Ocean, while the Southern Oscillation Index is neutral, but weakly positive. However, a very strong pulse of the  Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), which drove a burst of monsoonal activity over northern Australia in late January, has caused the western Pacific trade winds to weaken considerably. The rapid weakening of the trade winds may hasten the decline of La Niña. The MJO also led to above-average cloudiness at the Date Line for the first time since early September 2017.

In order for 2017–18 to be classed as a La Niña year, thresholds need to be exceeded for at least three months. Four of the eight climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest this event is likely to last at least until late summer, while a few continue the event into the southern hemisphere autumn of 2018.

World Meteorological Organization

Date: December 14, 2017

  • Weak La Niña conditions have recently developed in both the sea surface temperatures and the associated key atmospheric patterns;
  • La Niña conditions are 70-80% likely to continue into the first quarter of 2018.
  • La Niña is likely to be weak (0.5 to 1.0 degrees Celsius below average), with a slight chance for moderate strength (1.0 to 1.5 degrees Celsius below average).
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