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HOME > Expert Assessments > Climate Diagnostics Bulletin > Tropical Highlights

Tropical Highlights - October 2003

Surface and sub-surface oceanic conditions across the Tropical Pacific continued to trend towards a weak warm episode during October 2003 (Table T2), while atmospheric features continued to reflect ENSO neutral conditions (Table T1). Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and anomalies increased across the entire equatorial Pacific, with anomalies in both the Niņo 3.4 and Niņo 4 regions reaching their highest values since March 2003 (Table T2, Fig. T5). SST anomalies remained more than 1°C above normal in the equatorial west Pacific, while slightly warmer than normal SSTs were observed across the rest of the equatorial Pacific (Fig. T18).

Oceanic thermocline depths, as measured by the depth of the 20°C isotherm (Figs. T15, T16) remained slightly deeper than average across most of the equatorial Pacific during October. Consistent with these conditions, oceanic temperatures at thermocline depth were 1-2°C above average across most of the equatorial Pacific (Fig. T17).

The low-level and upper-level equatorial winds remained near average across the Pacific during October (Table T1, Figs. T20, T21), and the Tahiti-Darwin SOI remained near zero (-0.3) during the month (Table T1, Fig. T1). In addition, relatively weak outgoing longwave radiation (OLR) anomalies were observed throughout much of the global Tropics during October (Fig. T25). None of these indicators has exhibited any trend towards warm or cold episodes during the past five months and all are consistent with near neutral conditions across the Tropical Pacific.

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