Above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) across the equatorial Pacific Ocean [Fig. 1] were indicative of a strong El Niño, with anomalies increasing in the central and east-central Pacific in the past month. The latest weekly Niño index values were +1.4°C in Niño-4, +1.8°C in Niño-3.4, +2.1°C in Niño-3, and +2.2°C in Niño-1+2 [Fig. 2]. Area-averaged subsurface temperatures anomalies increased slightly [Fig. 3] associated with the initiation of a downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave, which strengthened above-average subsurface temperatures in the central equatorial Pacific [Fig. 4]. Low-level wind anomalies were westerly in the east-central Pacific, while upper-level wind anomalies were easterly in the western and central Pacific. Convection/rainfall was enhanced around the International Date Line, extending into the eastern Pacific. Suppressed convection/rainfall strengthened around Indonesia [Fig. 5]. The equatorial Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and the station-based SOI remained negative. Collectively, the coupled ocean-atmosphere system reflected a growing El Niño.
The most recent IRI plume favors El Niño to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2024 [Fig. 6]. Based on latest forecasts, there is a greater than 55% chance of at least a "strong" El Niño (≥ 1.5°C in Niño-3.4 for a seasonal average) persisting through January-March 2024. There is a 35% chance of this event becoming "historically strong" (≥ 2.0°C) for the November-January season. Stronger El Niño events increase the likelihood of El Niño-related climate anomalies, but do not necessarily equate to strong impacts (see CPC seasonal outlooks for probabilities of temperature and precipitation). In summary, El Niño is anticipated to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring (with a 62% chance during April-June 2024; [Fig. 7]).
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). Additional perspectives and analysis are also available in an ENSO blog. A probabilistic strength forecast is available here. The next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion is scheduled for 14 December 2023.
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