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Neutral Conditions in the South Pacific

By Sue Richards last modified Nov 12, 2008 04:21 PM

Published: 2008-11-12 16:21:53
Topics: Weather

ENSO (EL NIÑO/SOUTHERN OSCILLATION) neutral conditions are expected to continue into early 2009.

The latest claims by the Climate Prediction Centre are that the situation in the South Pacific is stable and promises to remain unchanged.

Neutral ENSO conditions still prevail in the Pacific Basin. There have been only minor fluctuations in ocean temperatures across the tropical Pacific Ocean in the past three weeks, with surface temperatures now close to their long-term average across the basin.

Subsurface waters are cooler than normal in the eastern Pacific, suggesting the possibility of further surface cooling over the coming weeks. The current conditions have been maintained by slightly stronger than normal trade winds, particularly over the western half of the equatorial Pacific. As a result, the SOI remains positive and has increased in the past three weeks to +14.

Given current conditions, trends over the past few months and climate model forecasts, neutral conditions are likely to remain until the end of the year and throughout the southern summer - there is now very little potential for El Niño or La Niña conditions to develop.