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HOME > Expert Assessments > Climate Diagnostics Bulletin > Tropical Highlights

Tropical Highlights - July 2003

Current atmospheric and oceanic conditions continue to reflect neutral conditions across the Tropical Pacific and do not support the development of La Niņa or El Niņo during the next few months. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were slightly warmer than average across the western and central Pacific and cooler than average along the South American coast (Fig. T18). SST anomalies have increased across the eastern and central equatorial Pacific during the past two months (Table T2, Fig. T4).

Oceanic thermocline depths, as measured by the depth of the 20°C isotherm (Figs. T15, T16) remained deeper than average over the central and western Pacific and shallower than average along the South American coast. This pattern has been modulated by an eastward-propagating Kelvin wave during the past two months. Consistent with the conditions observed during July, oceanic temperatures at thermocline depth were 3-4°C above average in the central Pacific and 2-3°C below average in the eastern Pacific (Fig. T17).

The equatorial easterly winds were slightly weaker than average east of 160°W and slightly stronger than average near the date line (Table T1, Fig. T20) during the month, while the Tahiti-Darwin SOI was positive (0.2) for the first time since February 2002 (Table T1, Fig. T1).

Relatively weak outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) anomalies were observed throughout much of the global Tropics, with the exception of the Indian Ocean sector (Fig. T25). Enhanced convection (negative OLR anomalies and above-average precipitation) was observed over the western Indian Ocean and over the northern portions of the Arabian Sea and parts of the Arabian peninsula, Pakistan and Northwest India (Figs. E3, E4). Suppressed convection (positive OLR anomalies and below-average precipitation) was found over the eastern Indian Ocean (Fig. T25).

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