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ENSO Alert System Status: Final El Niño Advisory / La Niña Watch
Synopsis: ENSO-neutral conditions are present and La Niña is favored to develop during the Northern Hemisphere summer 2016, with about a 75% chance of La Niña during the fall and winter 2016-17.
El Niño dissipated and ENSO-neutral conditions returned during over the past month, as indicated by the expansion of near-to-below average surface temperatures (SST) across the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. Other than the westernmost Niño-4 region, the Niño indices were near zero by the end of May. Below-average subsurface temperatures continued and extended to the surface across the eastern equatorial Pacific. For the first time in 2016, atmospheric anomalies over the tropical Pacific Ocean were also consistent with ENSO-neutral conditions. The traditional and equatorial Southern Oscillation indices were near zero, while the upper and lower-level winds were both near average across most of the tropical Pacific. Convection was also near-average over the central tropical Pacific and over most of Indonesia. Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic anomalies reflect a transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral conditions.
Many models favor La Niña (3-month average Niño-3.4 index less than or equal to -0.5°C) by the Northern Hemisphere fall. However, most dynamical models indicate La Niña onset as soon as the Northern Hemisphere summer, which is slightly favored by the forecaster consensus. In contrast, many statistical models favor a later onset time, with about half indicating the persistence of ENSO-neutral conditions through the winter. At this time, the forecasters are leaning toward a weak or borderline moderate La Niña if an event were to form. Overall, ENSO-neutral conditions are present and La Niña is favored to develop during the Northern Hemisphere summer 2016, with about a 75% chance of La Niña during the fall and winter 2016-17.