Tropical Highlights - June 2003
Current atmospheric and oceanic conditions do not support the development
of La Niņa in the next few
months. Strong low-level westerly wind anomalies over the western and
central equatorial Pacific during late May-early June initiated an
eastward-propagating oceanic Kelvin wave, possible linked to recent MJO
activity, that led to a reversal in the oceanic cooling trend observed
during the first 5 months of 2003. As a result, an upward trend was observed
in all Niņo indices during June
2003 (Table T2), positive equatorial SST anomalies strengthened and
expanded in the central and western Pacific, and negative anomalies weakened
in the eastern Pacific. The average SST anomaly pattern for June (Fig.
T18) shows weak positive anomalies west of 150°W
and near zero or negative anomalies east of 150°W.
Oceanic thermocline depths, as measured by the depth of the 20°C
isotherm, and subsurface temperature
anomalies increased throughout the western and central
equatorial Pacific during June in response to the eastward-propagating
Kelvin wave. At the same time, the equatorial easterly winds were near or
slightly weaker than normal between 180°W and
the South American coast (Table T1, Fig. T20), and the
Tahiti-Darwin SOI remained negative with a value of -1.1 (Table T1).
Abnormally dry conditions affected Indonesia and Malaysia, and portions
of Southeast Asia (Figs. T25, E3). These areas have experienced
considerable month-to-month variability since March, probably been related
to MJO activity (e.g., see Figs. T11, T12).