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Sun Jan 15, 2017, 09:30 PM

So long, La Nina

Last edited Mon Jan 16, 2017, 06:59 PM - Edit history (2)

In its latest monthly advisory, issued Thursday, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center all but sounded the death knell for the 2016-17 La Niña. Sea surface temperatures in the benchmark Niño3.4 region have remained in the weak range for La Niña (0.5°C to 1.0°C below the seasonal average), and the subsurface cold relative to average across the equatorial Pacific has almost completely vanished. In a new ENSO Blog entry, NOAA/CPC’s Emily Becker reviews global weather conditions and how they’ve stacked up against La Niña expectations (fairly well, especially for temperature).

Models are close to unanimous in bringing the Niño3.4 region into the neutral range over the next couple of months. There are some model indications of a weak El Niño kicking in by summer 2017. That wouldn’t shock me, given the continued predominance of a positive Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Positive PDOs are associated with a higher frequency of El Niño events, and the PDO has now been in positive territory in each month from January 2014 through December 2016—the first time this has happened across three consecutive calendar years in records that go back to 1900. Even so, NOAA’s Emily Becker isn’t ready to predict a 2017-18 El Niño: “A three-year series of El Niño/La Niña/El Niño has only happened once since 1950, in 1963/1964/1965. This doesn’t make it impossible that El Niño could develop, but it means that we aren’t counting on it.”


on edit: html doesn't work in titles? can't use a tilde ñ

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