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.
Niņo strengthened during December 2009, with above-average sea surface
temperatures (SST) encompassing the central and eastern equatorial
(Fig. T18). The Niņo-3.4 index
increased slightly with the most recent monthly value reaching +1.8°C (Table
Consistent with this warmth, equatorial upper-ocean heat content
anomalies remained positive. Subsurface
temperature anomalies exceeded +2°C across much of the equatorial Pacific (Fig.
with the largest departures seen in the eastern part of the basin at the end of
the month. Equatorial low-level
westerly and upper-level easterly wind anomalies were also consistent with El Niņo
(Figs. T20, T21),
along with a continuation of suppressed convection over Indonesia and enhanced
convection over the western and central equatorial Pacific (Fig. T25).
Collectively, these oceanic and atmospheric anomalies reflect a strong El
models continue to disagree on the eventual peak strength of El Niņo (Figs.
At this time, it is expected that the 3-month Niņo-3.4 SST average will
exceed +1.5°C during the winter (e.g. November-December-January and
of its precise peak strength, El Niņo is expected to exert a significant
influence on the global weather and climate in the coming months.
Most models indicate that SST anomalies in the Niņo-3.4 region will
begin to decrease in early 2010, and that El Niņo will persist through
updates of oceanic and atmospheric conditions are available on the Climate
Niņo/La Niņa Current Conditions and Expert Discussions).