COLLEGE PARK, Maryland, U.S. – El Niño is predicted to persist through the Northern Hemisphere summer 2019 (66% chance), with lower odds of continuing through the fall and winter (50-55% chance) the US Climate Prediction Center said in their latest report.
During May, El Niño was reflected in the continued presence of above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The latest weekly ENSO indices indicate the largest positive SST anomalies were within the central Pacific (+1.1°C in Niño-4 and +0.9°C in Niño-3.4) with smaller departures in the Niño-3 and Niño-1+2 regions.
Upper-ocean subsurface temperatures (averaged across 180°-100°W) were nearly average at the start of May, but positive anomalies increased toward the end of the month in association with a downwelling Kelvin wave.
Thus, anomalies remained positive at depth in the central equatorial Pacific Ocean, with negative anomalies evident in the eastern Pacific.
Suppressed tropical convection continued over Indonesia, while weak, enhanced convection persisted near the Date Line. Low-level wind anomalies were westerly over the western tropical Pacific Ocean, and upper-level wind anomalies were easterly over the western and east-central Pacific. Overall, oceanic and atmospheric conditions were consistent with El Niño.
The combined averages in the IRI/CPC plume predict El Niño to continue into Northern Hemisphere winter 2019-20, but individual models span ENSO-neutral to El Niño outcomes (generally +0.0°C to +1.0°C). The forecast consensus reflects this uncertainty, with slightly lower chances for El Niño compared to the previous month.
Ongoing subseasonal variability within the tropical Pacific contributes to an overall murky picture, but the current downwelling oceanic Kelvin wave should fuel the persistence of El Niño at least in the short-term.
In summary, El Niño is predicted to persist through the Northern Hemisphere summer 2019 (66% chance), with lower odds of continuing through the fall and winter (50-55% chance; click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).