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El Niño Weekly Update [15 February 2010]

Posted by feww on February 16, 2010

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

El Niño Weekly UPDATE prepared by Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  15 February 2010

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  1.0ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  1.2ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 0.7ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ (-0.1ºC)

El Niño Map. [SOURCE: NOAA/ Climate Prediction Center / NCEP]

SST Departures (ºC) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
Equatorial SSTs were more than 1.0°C above average between 175°E and 125°W.

Click image to enlarge.

Weekly SST Departures
(ºC) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, positive SST anomalies have weakened across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last 30 days, equatorial SST anomalies have decreased across much of the central and eastern Pacific.

Sub-Surface Temperature Departures (ºC) in the Equatorial Pacific

Click image to enlarge.

  • In early January 2010, positive subsurface temperature anomalies increased in the central equatorial Pacific in association with the downwelling phase of an oceanic Kelvin wave.
  • The most recent period (below) indicates a broad area of above-average subsurface temperatures across the eastern half of the equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Click image to enlarge.

Atmospheric Circulation over the North Pacific & North America During the Last 60 Days

Click image to enlarge. From mid-December to mid-January, strong mid-latitude westerlies (East Asian and Atlantic jets) were accompanied by troughs over the North Pacific and North America. The troughs contributed to below-average temperatures across portions of the U.S. and Canada. At higher latitudes, strong ridging led to above-average temperatures across Alaska and northern Canada. During late January, the East Asian jet extended farther east and a trough became established over the eastern Pacific. Over much of N. America, strong ridging over Canada contributed to above-average temperatures across Canada and portions of the U.S. During early February, troughing and below-average temperatures became reestablished over the United States.

Click image to enlarge.

Intraseasonal Variability

  • Intraseasonal variability in the atmosphere (wind and pressure), which is often related to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), can significantly impact surface and subsurface conditions across the Pacific Ocean.
  • Related to this activity
    • significant weakening of the low-level easterly winds usually initiates an eastward-propagating oceanic Kelvin wave.
    • Several Kelvin waves have occurred during the last year (see next slide).

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • A majority of the models indicate that the current El Niño episode is near or at its peak (e.g. December-January-February).
  • After peaking, nearly all models indicate Niño-3.4 temperature departures will gradually decrease, with about half of the models indicating that El Niño will continue into April-May-June 2010.

SST Outlook: NCEP CFS Forecast Issued 31 January 2010
The NCEP CFS predicts El Niño will last through the Northern Hemisphere summer 2010.


  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) are more than 1.0ºCabove-average across much of the central and east-central equatorial Pacific.
  • Based on current observations and dynamical model forecasts, El Niño is expected to continue at least into the Northern Hemisphere spring 2010.

Unless otherwise stated, information and images on this page are sourced from Climate Prediction Center/NCEP/NOAA. Edited by FEWW

Related Links:

El Niño Updates – Last 4 Weeks:

  • El Niño [Main Page, Links to Weekly Updates Archive]

3 Responses to “El Niño Weekly Update [15 February 2010]”

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