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La Nina and El Nino watch - latest comments from meteorologists

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Occurrences of El Nino, linked to warm Pacific water temperatures, or its counterpart La Nina, linked to cool ones, are closely watched by ag investors, given their record of causing weather aberrations in major agricultural producing countries.

 

Below the latest forecasts for the so-called El Niño-southern oscillation, or Enso, through which conditions related to El Nino or La Nina phenomena are monitored.

 

Meteologists’ comments from 2020 are available here.

 

April 9 - Japan Meteorological Agency

 

Features of the La Niña conditions in the equatorial Pacific since boreal [northern hemisphere] summer 2020 are decaying.

 

The eastward migration of the subsurface warm waters is reaching the eastern equatorial Pacific, expected to continue and weaken colder-than-normal SST conditions in the eastern part soon.

 

JMA’s El Niño prediction model suggests that the SST will become near normal gradually in boreal spring, and remains near normal during boreal summer.

 

In conclusion, Enso-neutral conditions are likely to return in boreal spring (80%). The Enso-neutral conditions are likely to continue during boreal summer (70%).

 

Month Probability of El Nino
Probability of ENSO neutral
Probability of La Nina
April 70 30
May 10 70

20

June 20 70

10

July 20 70

10

August 20 70

10

 

 

April 8 - US National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

 

A transition from La Niña to Enso-neutral is likely in the next month or so, with an 80% chance of Enso-neutral during May-July.

 

La Niña continued during March, reflected by negative sea surface temperatures (SST) anomalies, which extended across much of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

 

Overall, the trend in the coupled ocean-atmosphere system is consistent with a weakening La Niña.

 

Most of the models in the IRI/CPC plume predict a transition to Enso-neutral during the northern hemisphere spring. The forecaster consensus agrees that a transition is imminent, with a 50-50% chance of La Niña or Enso-neutral for the March-May average, and then predicts Enso-neutral to continue at least through the northern hemisphere summer.

 

In part, due to the uncertainty in predictions made at this time of year, the forecast for the northern hemisphere fall has lower confidence with a 40-50% chance of either La Niña or Enso-neutral, with a small chance for El Niño. In summary, a transition from La Niña to Enso-neutral is likely in the next month or so, with an 80% chance of Enso-neutral during May-July 2021.

 

 

CPC/IRI official probabilistic Enso forecasts
Season La Niña Neutral El Niño
March, April, May 50% 50% 0%
April, May, June 21% 79% 0%
May, June, July 15% 81% 4%
June, July, Aug 20% 68% 12%
July, Aug, Sept 30% 57% 13%
Aug, Sept, Oct 37% 50% 13%
Sept, Oct, Nov 41% 46% 13%
Oct, Nov, Dec 46% 41% 13%
Nov, Dec, Jan 47% 40% 13%

 

 

March 30 - Australian Bureau of Meteorology

 

The bureau’s Enso outlook has moved from “La Niña” to “inactive” as most El Niño-Southern Oscillation indicators have now returned to neutral levels. Climate model outlooks suggest the Pacific Ocean will remain at neutral Enso levels at least until [southern hemisphere] winter.

 

Tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures have persisted at Enso-neutral values for several weeks. Below the surface, much of the tropical Pacific is now at near average temperatures.

 

Atmospheric indicators are also generally at neutral Enso levels. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is close to zero, while trade winds are currently being enhanced by the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO). Only cloudiness near the Date Line continues to show a weak La Niña-like signature.

 

These changes are consistent with climate model outlooks, which have indicated a return to Enso neutral during the southern hemisphere autumn, with little indication of a return to La Niña patterns in the coming months.

 

A return to Enso neutral conditions in autumn is also typical of the life cycle of Enso events. All models indicate Enso will remain neutral until at least the end of the southern winter.

 

 

March 18 - Marex Spectron

 

The Enso has been in the cool phase since the third quarter of 2020 and has had a notable influence on Brazil’s rainy season. However, looking forward our in-house climate model points to the transition from La Nina conditions into the neutral phase over the next three months.

 

We note that there is a lag between changes in ocean SSTs and in the general atmospheric circulation pattern, so it is likely that we will continue to see teleconnections associated with the La Nina phase for the next couple of months.

 

The [three-month] temperature forecast points to a weak cool bias across the western US Corn Belt, which may have a negative impact on the growing degree days (GGDs) in these corn states. Whereas regions in the east could see temperatures slightly above the climatology, which may have a positive impact on GDDs.

 

The rainfall anomaly forecast points to a wet signal clustered over the upper Midwest (eg Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin). Moving towards the south of the US (eg Texas)… there is a dry bias which indicates to rainfall rates below the climatology.

 

 

March 16 - Australian Bureau of Meteorology

 

The 2020-21 La Niña is nearing its end, with most oceanic indicators of the El Niño-southern oscillation now at neutral levels.

 

However, a number of atmospheric indicators remain at La Niña levels, meaning La Niña’s influence is likely to persist into April, with outlooks indicating a wetter than average month for northern and eastern parts of Australia.

 

Tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures have returned to Enso-neutral values in the past fortnight. Below the surface, waters have also been warming.

 

However, atmospheric indicators such as cloudiness near the date line and trade winds persist at La Niña levels. The southern oscillation index in recent days has dipped below La Niña thresholds, although this may just be a temporary easing.

 

These changes in indicators are consistent with climate model outlooks, which for several weeks have indicated a return to Enso neutral during the southern hemisphere autumn. While around 40% of past La Niña events have re-strengthened for a second year, there are currently no models suggesting that La Niña will return during winter.

 

 

March 11 - US National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

 

La Niña continued during February, reflected by below-average sea surface temperatures anomalies, which extended from the western to east-central Pacific Ocean, SSTs returned to near average in the eastern Pacific Ocean by late January, before oscillating during February, as indicated by the week-to-week variability in most of the Niño index regions.

 

Overall, the coupled ocean-atmosphere system is consistent with a weak or decaying La Niña.

 

Most of the models in the IRI/CPC plume predict a transition to Enso-neutral during the northern hemisphere spring 2021. The forecaster consensus agrees with this transition and then predicts a continuation of Enso -neutral at least through the northern hemisphere summer.

 

In part, due to the uncertainty in predictions made at this time of year, the forecast for September-November remains lower confidence with a 45-50% for La Niña and 40-45% for Enso-neutral, with a low chance for El Niño.

 

In summary, there is a ~60% chance of a transition from La Niña to Enso-neutral during the northern hemisphere spring 2021 (April-June).

 

 

March 10 - Japan Meteorological Agency

 

In February 2021, the sea surface temperature [index] was below normal with a deviation of -0.6 degrees Celsius.

 

The eastward migration of the subsurface warm waters from the western to central equatorial Pacific was started in February, and is expected to continue and weaken colder-than-normal sea surface temperature conditions in the eastern part.

 

JMA’s El Niño prediction model suggests that the [index] will be gradually come closer to normal in boreal spring, and near or above normal until boreal [northern hemisphere] summer.

 

In conclusion, it is likely that La Niña conditions will fade into Enso-neutral conditions in boreal spring (80%). Enso-neutral conditions are likely during boreal summer (70%).

 

Month Probability of El Nino
Probability of ENSO neutral
Probability of La Nina
March 50 50
April 70 30
May 10 70

20

June 20 70

10

July 20 70

10

 

 

March 2 - Australian Bureau of Meteorology

 

The 2020-21 La Niña has passed its peak and is now weakening. Climate model outlooks indicate the El Niño-Southern Oscillation will return to neutral (neither La Niña nor El Niño) during [southern hemisphere] autumn.

 

While La Niña’s influence on Australian rainfall typically wanes during autumn when events usually decay, it can still bring above average rainfall to parts of northern and eastern Australia during the final months of the northern wet season.

 

Tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures are currently close to La Niña threshold. However, atmospheric indicators such as the southern oscillation index, cloudiness near the date line, and trade winds clearly remain at La Niña levels. Waters beneath the surface remain cooler than average, but the strength of cool anomalies has begun to ease.

 

 

February 16 - Australian Bureau of Meteorology

 

The 2020-21 La Niña continues to influence Australia and the broader Pacific Basin.

 

In terms of typical indicators of La Niña, however, this event has peaked.

 

Climate model outlooks indicate the El Niño–Southern Oscillation will return to neutral during [southern hemisphere] autumn, that is, neither La Niña nor El Niño.

 

The wetter influence from La Niña is likely to continue for the shorter term, with three-month outlooks indicating above-average rainfall is likely for parts of northern Australia.

 

 

 

February 11 - US National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

 

La Niña persisted in January, reflected by below-average sea surface temperatures (SST) anomalies extending from the western to east-central Pacific Ocean.

 

Most of the models in the IRI/CPC plume predict a transition to Enso-neutral during the northern hemisphere spring.

 

The forecaster consensus is in agreement with this transition and then predicts a continuation of Enso-neutral at least through the northern hemisphere summer.

 

In part, due to the inherent uncertainty in predictions made at this time of year, the forecast for the fall remains split (~50%) between La Niña and the combination of the other two possibilities (El Niño and neutral).

 

In summary, there is a ~60% chance of a transition from La Niña to Enso-neutral during the northern hemisphere spring (April-June).

 

 

February 10 - Japan Meteorological Agency

 

It is likely that La Niña conditions will fade into ENSO-neutral conditions by boreal [northern hemisphere] spring.

 

In January, the sea surface temperature was below normal with a deviation of -0.5°C.

 

Sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific were above normal in the western part and below normal in the central and eastern parts. Subsurface temperatures were above normal in the western part and below normal in the central and eastern parts.

 

Atmospheric convective activity near the date line over the equatorial Pacific was below normal, and easterly winds in the lower troposphere (ie, trade winds) over the central equatorial Pacific were stronger than normal.

 

The subsurface warm waters, developing in the western equatorial Pacific in January, are expected to migrate eastward and weaken colder-than-normal sea surface temperature conditions in the central and eastern parts.

 

JMA’s El Niño prediction model suggests that the sea surface temperature will be near normal until boreal spring, and near or above normal until boreal summer.

 

 

Month Probability of El Nino
Probability of ENSO neutral
Probability of La Nina
February 50 50
March 70 30
April 10 70

20

May 10 80

10

June 20 70

10

 

 

February 4 - AMIS

 

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation is currently in the La Niña phase.

 

This La Niña event is well-developed and moderate-to-strong, with very cool ocean conditions in the eastern equatorial Pacific.

 

La Niña conditions are expected to continue (95% chance for January to March and 55% chance for March to May) and then transition to Enso neutral (55% chance for April to June).

 

La Niña conditions typically reduce February to March/May rainfall in East Africa, the southern US, the northern Middle East, southern Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India

 

La Niña conditions typically increase February to March/May rainfall in South East Asia, southern Africa, and in southernmost India and Sri Lanka.

 

Southern Central America and northern South America typically see increased rainfall into February.

 

 

January 19 - Australian Bureau of Meteorology

 

The 2020-21 La Niña is likely to have reached its peak with respect to sea surface temperature patterns in the eastern and central Pacific Ocean.

 

However, impacts associated with La Niña, such as above average rainfall in eastern and northern Australia, are expected to persist into early autumn, with climate outlooks indicating above-average rainfall is likely across much of the country, particularly in eastern Queensland.

 

Over the past fortnight the sea surface temperatures across the western and central Pacific Ocean have cooled slightly while those in the eastern side of the basin have warmed

 

The Southern Oscillation Index continues to remain high with a 90-day value of +14.0, well above the La Niña threshold of +7. Model outlooks indicate a return to neutral conditions during the late southern summer or early autumn.

 

 

January 14 - US National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center

 

Below-average sea surface temperatures extend from the western to the eastern Pacific Ocean, and reflect the continuation of La Niña.

 

The atmospheric circulation associated with La Niña strengthened over the tropical Pacific Ocean during the month.

 

Both the Southern Oscillation and Equatorial Southern Oscillation strengthened during December. Overall, the coupled ocean-atmosphere system is consistent with the ongoing La Niña.

 

A majority of the models in the IRI/CPC plume predict La Niña to continue through the northern hemisphere spring. The forecaster consensus is in line with the models and suggests a transition to Enso-neutral in the late spring 2021.

 

However, the forecast uncertainty increases throughout the summer and fall, which is reflected by the lower probabilities (less than ~50%) for La Niña and Enso-neutral. These low forecast probabilities beyond the spring are consistent with the spring predictability barrier, when model forecasts are historically less accurate than during other times of the year.

 

In summary, La Niña is expected to continue through the northern hemisphere winter (~95% chance during January-March), with a potential transition to Enso-neutral during the spring (55% chance during April-June).

 

 

January 12 - Japan Meteorological Agency

 

Oceanic and atmospheric conditions indicate common features of past La Niña events. La Niña conditions are considered to have persisted in the equatorial Pacific since boreal [northern hemisphere] summer 2020.

 

The subsurface cold waters, observed in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific in December, are expected to migrate eastward and maintain colder-than-normal sea surface temperature conditions in the eastern part through boreal winter.

 

In conclusion, it is equally likely (50%) that La Niña conditions will continue or Enso neutral conditions will present until boreal spring.

 

Month Probability of El Nino
Probability of ENSO neutral
Probability of La Nina
January 10 90
February 30 70
March 50 50
April 70 30
May 10 70 20

 

 

January 5 - Australian Bureau of Meteorology

 

The 2020-21 La Niña is likely to have peaked in terms of sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

 

However, impacts associated with La Niña, such as above-average rainfall, are expected to persist across eastern and northern Australia through the summer months, with climate outlooks indicating above-average rainfall is particularly likely across the eastern third of the country.

 

Over the past fortnight here has been little change in sea surface temperatures across the central Pacific Ocean, which have been close to the La Niña threshold of 0.8 degrees Celsius below average since early December.

 

However, the Southern Oscillation Index has risen sharply and is currently at +18.8, well above the La Niña threshold of +7.

 

Model outlooks indicate the strength of La Niña is likely to ease in the coming weeks with a likely return to neutral conditions during the late southern summer or early autumn.

 

 

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