CPC and the contributors to the Forecast Forum caution potential users of
this predictive information that they can expect only modest skill.
Alert System Status: El
El Niņo is expected to
continue at least into the Northern Hemisphere Spring 2010.
moderate-to-strong El Niņo continued during February 2010, with sea surface
temperature (SST) anomalies exceeding 1.5°C in parts of the equatorial
at the end of the month (Fig. T18).
The monthly value of the Niņo-3.4 index was +1.2°C during February (Table
oceanic Kelvin wave was initiated in early February, which acted to increase the
subsurface heat content anomalies (average temperatures in the upper 300m of the
ocean), and to strengthen subsurface temperature departures (exceeding +2°C
down to 100-175m) across much of the equatorial Pacific (Fig. T17).
SSTs were sufficiently warm to support deep tropical convection, which strongly
increased across the central and eastern tropical Pacific, while remaining
Equatorial low-level westerly wind anomalies also strengthened during
February, while upper-level easterly wind anomalies weakened slightly (Figs.
T20, T21). Collectively,
these oceanic and atmospheric anomalies reflect a moderate-to-strong El Niņo
all models predict decreasing SST anomalies in the Niņo-3.4 region through
2010, with the model spread increasing at longer lead times (Figs.
The majority of models predict the 3-month Niņo-3.4 SST anomaly will
drop below +0.5°C by May-June-July 2010, indicating a transition to ENSO-neutral
conditions near the onset of Northern Hemisphere summer. However, several models
suggest the potential of continued weak El Niņo conditions through 2010, while
others predict the development of La Niņa conditions later in the year.
Predicting when El Niņo will dissipate and what may follow remains highly
updates of oceanic and atmospheric conditions are available on the Climate
Niņo/La Niņa Current Conditions and Expert Discussions).