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El Niño Weekly Update [28 Dec 2009]

Posted by feww on December 29, 2009

ENSO Cycle: Recent Evolution, Current Status and Predictions

El Niño Weekly UPDATE prepared by Climate Prediction Center / NCEP –  28 December 2009

The latest weekly SST departures are:

  • Niño 4   ~  1.5ºC
  • Niño 3.4  ~  1.9ºC
  • Niño 3 ~ 1.6ºC
  • Niño 1+2 ~ 0.5ºC

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

SST Departures (°C) in the Tropical Pacific During the Last 4 Weeks
During the last 4-weeks, SSTs were at least 1.0°C above average across much of the equatorial Pacific east of 170ºE, and more than 2.0°C above average across large regions in the eastern half of the Pacific.

Global SST Departures (°C)
During the last four weeks, equatorial SSTs were above-average across the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Also, above-average SSTs covered large areas of the Northern Hemisphere subtropics.

Weekly SST Departures (°C) for the Last Four Weeks

  • During the last four weeks, positive SST anomalies have persisted across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • During the last 30 days, equatorial SST anomalies have increased across the eastern equatorial Pacific.

Click image to enlarge.
Source: Climate Prediction Center / NCEP

Click image to enlarge.
Source: Climate Prediction Center / NCEP

Atmospheric Circulation over the North Pacific & North America During the Last 60 Days
During most of November, a nearly zonal pattern of above-average heights over the mid-latitudes was observed with anomalous troughingover the higher latitudes. This pattern led to above-average temperatures across much of North America and below-average temperatures in Alaska. From late November through December, the anomalous zonal pattern of above-average heights at mid-latitudes was replaced by strong anomalous troughs over the N. Pacific and much of N. America and above-average heights at high latitudes. This pattern led to below-average temperatures acrossthe U.S. and Canada and above-average temperatures over Alaska.

Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) Anomalies

Click image to enlarge. Source: Climate Prediction Center / NCEP

Pacific Niño 3.4 SST Outlook

  • The models continue to disagree on the eventual strength of El Niño, but nearly all indicate at least a moderate strength El Niño (3-month average greater than +1.0°C) through January-February-March 2010.
  • After peaking, the majority of models indicate Niño-3.4 will gradually weaken, but that El Niño will continue into April-May-June 2010.


  • El Niño is present across the equatorial Pacific Ocean.
  • Sea surface temperatures (SST) are 1.0ºC to 3.0ºC above-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 and last 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

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