ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions. Update prepared by Climate Prediction Center / NCEP July 26, 2004

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1 ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions Update prepared by Climate Prediction Center / NCEP July 26, 2004

2 Outline Overview Recent Evolution and Current Conditions Oceanic NiZo Index (ONI) Revised 1 March 2004 Pacific SST Outlook U.S. Seasonal Precipitation and Temperature Outlooks Summary

3 Overview Oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Pacific basin continue to reflect the neutral phase of the ENSO cycle. However, there has been considerable intraseasonal (week-to-week and month-to-month) variability related to ongoing MJO activity. Sea surface temperatures in the western and central equatorial Pacific are warmer than average, while conditions in the eastern equatorial Pacific (east of 125 W) are cooler than average. Slightly more than half of the statistical and coupled model forecasts indicate ENSO-neutral conditions persisting in the tropical Pacific through the NH summer The remaining forecasts indicate that El Niño will develop during the next 3-6 months. Based on current conditions and recent observed trends, it is likely that either ENSO-neutral conditions or borderline warm-episode (El Niño ) conditions will occur in the equatorial Pacific for the next 3 months (through October 2004).

4 Recent Evolution of Equatorial Pacific SST Departures Positive departures persisted across the equatorial Pacific from early October 2003 to mid- January Time Since that time SSTs have been cooler-than-average in the eastern equatorial Pacific and warmer-thanaverage in the western and central equatorial Pacific. Longitude Departures increased substantially in the central equatorial Pacific during July.

5 Niño Indices: Recent Evolution During July 2004, SST anomalies increased in all of the Niño regions. Positive anomalies were observed in the Niño 3.4 and Niño 4 regions, while negative anomalies occurred in the Niño 3 and Niño 1+2 regions.

6 Average SST Departures in the Tropical Pacific: Last 4 Weeks Equatorial ocean surface temperatures greater than +0.5 C (~1 F) above average are found at most locations between 165 E and 140 W. Departures greater than +1 C are found between 175 E and 150 W. Negative SST anomalies less than -0.5 C are found in most areas between 130 W and the South American coast. 27 June - 24 July 2004

7 Evolution of SST Departure Patterns in the Last 4 Weeks During July 2004 positive SST anomalies increased in the central equatorial Pacific, where departures greater than +1 C (+1.5 C at the end of period) were observed. Negative anomalies were observed in the eastern equatorial Pacific. Considerable intraseasonal variability in SST has been observed in recent months, associated with Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) activity.

8 Change is SST Anomalies during the last 4 Weeks Equatorial SST anomalies increased in the central equatorial Pacific basin during the last 4 weeks, while SST anomalies decreased in portions of the eastern equatorial Pacific.

9 Subsurface Conditions in the Eq. Pacific Time During June and early July 2004 the upper-ocean heat content was greater than average in the central and western equatorial Pacific and less than average in the eastern equatorial Pacific. The magnitude of the subsurface temperature departures increased in both regions during the last four weeks. Longitude

10 MJO Intraseasonal Variability MJO activity in recent months has resulted in significant variability in the atmosphere (wind and pressure) and Pacific Ocean (surface and subsurface temperature). Related to this activity, a significant low-level westerly event occurred over the equatorial Pacific during late June-early July 2004, which contributed to the recent increase in SST anomalies and upper ocean heat content in the central equatorial Pacific.

11 Low-level (850-hPa) Zonal (eastwest) Wind Anomalies Weaker-than-average easterlies (orange/red shading). Stronger-than-average easterlies (blue shading). Time In spite of continued MJO activity, the easterlies were stronger-thanaverage during most of the period. Longitude Recently, the easterlies weakened substantially throughout the equatorial Pacific.

12 Outgoing Longwave Radiation Longitude (OLR) Anomalies Drier-thanaverage conditions (orange/red shading) Time Wetter-thanaverage conditions (blue shading) Wetter-thanaverage conditions have dominated the western equatorial Pacific in recent months.

13 Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) Based on the principal measure for monitoring, assessment, and prediction of ENSO (SST departures from average in the Niño 3.4 region) Three-month running-mean values of SST departures from average in the Niño 3.4 region, based on a set of improved homogeneous historical SST analyses (Extended Reconstructed SST ERSST.v2). The methodology is described in Smith and Reynolds, 2003, J. Climate, 16, Used to place current conditions in historical perspective NOAA operational definitions of El Niño and La Niña are keyed to the index.

14 NOAA Operational Definitions for El Niño and La Niña El Niño: characterized by a positive ONI greater than or equal to +0.5 C. La NiZa: characterized by a negative ONI less than or equal to!0.5 C. To be classified as a full-fledged El Niño or La Niña episode these thresholds must be exceeded for a period of at least 5 consecutive months.

15 ONI: Evolution since 1950 The most recent ONI value (+0.3C for April- June 2004) indicates ENSO-neutral conditions. El Niño neutral La Niña

16 Historical El Niño and La Niña episodes, based on the ONI computed using ERSST.v2 Warm Episodes max Cold Episodes min JAS NDJ 1951/ ASO 1949 FMA MAM 1957 MJJ MAM 1954 DJF 1956/ JJA 1963 DJF 1963/ ASO 1961 MAM MJJ 1965 MAM MAM 1964 JFM OND 1968 AMJ SON 1967 MAM ASO 1969 DJF 1969/ JJA 1970 DJF 1971/ AMJ 1972 FMA AMJ 1973 JJA ASO 1976 JFM ASO 1974 AMJ ASO DJF 1977/ ASO 1983 DJF 1983/ AMJ 1982 MJJ SON 1984 MJJ JAS 1986 JFM AMJ 1988 AMJ AMJ 1991 MJJ ASO 1995 FMA FMA 1993 JJA JJA 1998 MJJ MAM 1994 FMA SON 2000 JFM AMJ 1997 MAM AMJ 2002 FMA

17 Warm (red) and cold (blue) episodes based on a threshold of +/- 0.5 C for the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) [3 month running mean of ERSST.v2 SST anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region (5N-5S, W)], based on the base period. For historical purposes cold and warm episodes (blue and red colored numbers) are defined when the threshold is met for a minimum of 5 consecutive over-lapping seasons. Year DJF JFM FMA MAM AMJ MJJ JJA JAS ASO SON OND NDJ

18 Warm (red) and cold (blue) episodes based on a threshold of +/- 0.5 C for the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) [3 month running mean of ERSST.v2 SST anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region (5N-5S, W)], based on the base period. For historical purposes cold and warm episodes (blue and red colored numbers) are defined when the threshold is met for a minimum of 5 consecutive over-lapping seasons. Year DJF JFM FMA MAM AMJ MJJ JJA JAS ASO SON OND NDJ

19 Warm (red) and cold (blue) episodes based on a threshold of +/- 0.5 C for the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) [3 month running mean of ERSST.v2 SST anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region (5N-5S, W)], based on the base period. For historical purposes cold and warm episodes (blue and red colored numbers) are defined when the threshold is met for a minimum of 5 consecutive over-lapping seasons. Year DJF JFM FMA MAM AMJ MJJ JJA JAS ASO SON OND NDJ

20 Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook Statistical and coupled model forecasts indicate increasing uncertainty (wider range) with time. The forecasts range from neutral conditions to weak El Nino conditions during the last half of 2004 and early One forecast indicates that La Nina conditions will develop during this summer and continue through the end of Figure provided by the International Research Institute (IRI) for Climate Prediction (updated 15 July 2004).

21 U. S. Seasonal Outlooks August-October 2004 Temperature Precipitation Outlooks combine long-term trends and soil-moisture effects, with typical ENSO cycle impacts, when appropriate.

22 Summary Oceanic and atmospheric conditions in the Pacific basin continue to reflect the neutral phase of the ENSO cycle. However, there has been considerable intraseasonal (week-to-week and month-to-month) variability related to ongoing MJO activity. Sea surface temperatures in the western and central equatorial Pacific are warmer than average, while conditions in the eastern equatorial Pacific (east of 125 W) are cooler than average. Slightly more than half of the statistical and coupled model forecasts indicate ENSO-neutral conditions persisting in the tropical Pacific through the NH summer The remaining forecasts indicate that El Niño will develop during the next 3-6 months. Based on current conditions and recent observed trends, it is likely that either ENSO-neutral conditions or borderline warm-episode (El Niño ) conditions will occur in the equatorial Pacific for the next 3 months (through October 2004).

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