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ENSO Diagnostic Discussion
issued by
9 May 2024

ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Advisory / La Niña Watch


Synopsis:  A transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is likely in the next month. La Niña may develop in June-August (49% chance) or July-September (69% chance).

During April 2024, below-average equatorial sea surface temperatures (SSTs) emerged in small regions of the eastern Pacific Ocean. However, above-average SSTs prevailed across the rest of the equatorial Pacific [Fig. 1]. The latest weekly Niño index values remained between +0.5°C and +0.8°C in all regions, except for Niño-3 which was +0.3°C [Fig. 2]. Below-average subsurface temperatures held steady during the month (area-averaged index in [Fig. 3]), with negative anomalies extending from the Date Line to the eastern Pacific Ocean [Fig. 4]. Low-level wind anomalies were easterly over the western equatorial Pacific, while upper-level winds were near average. Convection was near average overall across the equatorial Pacific Ocean and Indonesia [Fig. 5]. Collectively, the coupled ocean-atmosphere system reflected the continued weakening of El Niño and transition toward ENSO-neutral.

The most recent IRI plume favors an imminent transition to ENSO-neutral, with La Niña developing during July-September 2024 and then persisting through the Northern Hemisphere winter [Fig. 6]. The forecast team continues to favor the dynamical model guidance, which suggests La Niña could form as early as June-August 2024, with higher confidence of La Niña during the following seasons. La Niña generally tends to follow strong El Niño events, which also provides added confidence in the model guidance favoring La Niña. In summary, a transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is likely in the next month. La Niña may develop in June-August (49% chance) or July-September (69% chance; [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 13 June 2024.

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