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El Nino-Southern Oscillation Updates

International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Date: May 9, 2019

SSTs in the tropical Pacific maintained a weak El Niño level during April and early May, while temperature anomalies of subsurface waters decreased but continued to be positive. Patterns in the atmosphere show weak El Niño conditions. Collective model forecasts show a continuation of at least weak El Niño-level SSTs lasting through 2019. The official CPC/IRI outlook, with an El Niño advisory, calls for an approximate 70% chance of El Niño continuing during Jun-Aug, decreasing to 55-60% for Sep-Nov.

NOAA National Weather Service / Climate Prediction Center

Date: May 6, 2019

  • El Niño is present.
  • Equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are above average across most of the Pacific Ocean.
  • The pattern of anomalous convection and winds are consistent with El Niño.
  • A weak El Niño is likely to continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer 2019 (65% chance) and possibly fall (50-55% chance).

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology

Date: April 30, 2019

The Bureau's ENSO Outlook remains at El Niño ALERT. This means the chance of El Niño developing in 2019 is approximately 70%. Climate models indicate that if El Niño does develop it is likely to be short-lived.

Although the surface of the tropical Pacific Ocean remains warmer than average, water below the surface of the ocean has been gradually cooling. A cooling of water at depth can lead to a cooling of the ocean surface, which may reduce the length of an event if one develops. Most climate models indicate surface warmth in the Pacific Ocean will remain at El Niño-like levels at least through May. The longer the ocean surface warmth remains, the more likely it is that the atmosphere will respond, and El Niño will develop.

If El Niño does develop in May, it's likely to be short lived, with most models indicating that the ocean will likely cool through winter and spring. Four of the eight surveyed models return to neutral by September, and the other four indicate weak El Niño levels.

World Meteorological Organization

Date: February 26, 2019

  • Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean were at or just below El Niño levels (depending on the thresholds applied) in January and early February 2019. Some El Niño-like atmospheric patterns also emerged around late January.
  • Model predictions and expert opinion indicate a 50–60% chance that the ocean and atmosphere will couple, and a weak El Niño event will become established during the March–May 2019 season. While odds for El Niño drop below 50% for the following season of June–August, long-lead outlooks made at this time of year are particularly uncertain beyond the second quarter and should be considered with additional caution.
  • Sea surface temperatures are expected to be about 0.6 to 0.9 degrees Celsius above average in the east-central tropical Pacific during the March–May 2019 season. A strong El Niño event appears unlikely.
  • Through the first three quarters of 2019, the development of La Niña is highly unlikely and can be practically ruled out.
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