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ENSO Alert System Status: La Niña Watch
Synopsis: La Niña conditions are favored (~55-65%) during the Northern Hemisphere fall and
During September, ENSO-neutral conditions were reflected in near-to-below average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across most of the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. The weekly Niño indices were volatile during the month, with negative values increasing to near zero during the past week in the Niño-4, Niño-3.4, and Niño-3 regions. In contrast, sub-surface temperature anomalies were increasingly negative during September, reflecting the shallow depth of the thermocline across the central and eastern Pacific. Also, convection was suppressed near the International Date Line and enhanced near Indonesia. Over the western equatorial Pacific Ocean, low-level trade winds were anomalously easterly and upper-level winds were anomalously westerly. Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system remains consistent with ENSO-neutral, although edging closer to La Niña conditions.
For the upcoming Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2017-18, a weak La Niña is favored in the dynamical model averages of the IRI/CPC plume and North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME). Several models indicate a period of near-average Niño-3.4 values in the upcoming weeks, but then predict reinvigorated growth of negative SST anomalies across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. These forecasts are supported by the ongoing easterly wind anomalies across portions of the Pacific Ocean and the reservoir of below-average subsurface temperatures. In summary, La Niña conditions are favored (~55-65%) during the Northern Hemisphere fall and winter 2017-18 (click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).