Ag Weather Forum

Strong El Nino Still in Place

Bryce Anderson
By  Bryce Anderson , DTN Senior Ag Meteorologist
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Very warm Pacific Ocean equatorial temperatures remain in place driving the forecast for El Nino to continue until at least March. (Australia Bureau of Meteorology graphic by Nick Scalise)

Following are some highlights of the Australia Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) latest analysis of the Pacific Ocean temperature pattern that continues to point to El Nino well into the first few months of 2016. -- Bryce

"A strong El Nino persists in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The event is comparable to the record events of 1997–98 and 1982–83. International climate models suggest that El Nino SSTs are approaching their peak, and will decrease in the first quarter of 2016. With such warm SSTs, models suggest the tropical Pacific is unlikely to return to neutral until at least (Southern Hemisphere) autumn 2016, although impacts on Australian climate are likely to decline prior to this." (BA note: Southern Hemisphere autumn equals Northern Hemisphere spring.)


"Compared to two weeks ago, warm sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies have increased in parts of the eastern equatorial Pacific and decreased across the northeast of the (Pacific) basin and over the western equatorial Pacific (west of the International Date Line). Cool anomalies have dissipated across the Indonesian archipelago and waters to Australia's north.

"Anomalies for the week ending 22 November exceeded plus 2 degrees Celsius across nearly the entire equatorial Pacific east of the Date Line, with some areas exceeding plus 3 degrees C. Warm anomalies are present along most of the equator in the Pacific, extending from the South American coastline to about 160 degrees East."


"The SST anomaly map for October 2015 shows warm SST anomalies extended across the equatorial Pacific from the South American coastline to about 165 degrees East and also across much of the east and far north of the basin in the Northern Hemisphere.

Compared to September, warm anomalies have increased along the equator and to Australia's southeast and west, but have decreased north of the equator in the central Pacific. Cool anomalies have increased across the Indonesian archipelago and waters to Australia's north. Moderate to strong warm anomalies persist across much of the Indian Ocean.

"All of NINO3 (east-central Pacific), NINO3.4 (central Pacific) and NINO4 (west-central Pacific) continued to warm, reaching anomalies of plus 2.3 degrees C, plus 2.4 degrees C, and plus 1.7 degrees C respectively for October 2015. The NINO4 region has been unusually warm, with each month since February the warmest since records began in 1981." (BA note: The sectors described are along the equator -- not the entire Pacific Ocean.)

"NINO3.4 still remains behind the peak monthly anomaly value reached during either 1982 or 1997 (plus 2.8 degrees C and plus 2.7 degrees C respectively). Note: peak values are typically recorded late in the year.

"Warm anomalies also remain across much of the Pacific Ocean in the Northern Hemisphere east of the Date Line."



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