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HOME > Expert Assessments > ENSO Diagnostic Discussion
issued by
and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society
12 November 2015

ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Advisory


Synopsis: El Niño will likely peak during the Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, with a transition to ENSO-neutral anticipated during the late spring or early summer 2016.

A strong El Niño continued during October as indicated by well above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean (Fig. 1). Most Niño indices increased during the month, although the far eastern Niño-1+2 index decreased, accentuating the maximum in anomalous SST farther west (Fig. 2). The subsurface temperature anomalies also increased in the central and eastern Pacific, in association with another downwelling equatorial oceanic Kelvin wave (Figs. 3, 4). Low-level westerly wind anomalies and upper-level easterly wind anomalies continued over the western to east-central tropical Pacific. Also, the traditional and equatorial Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values remained negative. These conditions are associated with enhanced convection over the central and eastern tropical Pacific and with suppressed convection over Indonesia (Fig. 5). Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic anomalies reflect a strong and mature El Niño episode.

Most models indicate that a strong El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, followed by weakening and a transition to ENSO-neutral during the late spring or early summer (Fig. 6). The forecaster consensus remains nearly unchanged, with the expectation that this El Niño could rank among the top three strongest episodes as measured by the 3-month SST departures in the Niño 3.4 region going back to 1950. El Niño will likely peak during the Northern Hemisphere winter 2015-16, with a transition to ENSO-neutral anticipated during the late spring or early summer 2016 (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).

El Niño has already produced significant global impacts. El Niño is expected to affect temperature and precipitation patterns across the United States during the upcoming months (the 3-month seasonal outlook will be updated on Thursday November 19th). Seasonal outlooks generally favor below-average temperatures and above-median precipitation across the southern tier of the United States, and above-average temperatures and below-median precipitation over the northern tier of the United States.

This discussion is a consolidated effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA's National Weather Service, and their funded institutions. Oceanic and atmospheric conditions are updated weekly on the Climate Prediction Center web site (El Niño/La Niña Current Conditions and Expert Discussions). Forecasts are also updated monthly in the Forecast Forum of CPC's Climate Diagnostics Bulletin. Additional perspectives and analysis are also available in an ENSO blog. The next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion is scheduled for 10 December 2015. To receive an e-mail notification when the monthly ENSO Diagnostic Discussions are released, please send an e-mail message to:

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Page Author: Climate Prediction Center Internet Team
Page last modified: November 12, 2015
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