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ENSO Alert System Status: Not Active
Synopsis: ENSO-neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere spring 2020 (~60% chance), continuing through summer 2020 (~50% chance).
During January 2020, near- to above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were evident across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The latest weekly Niño-3.4 and Niño-3 indices were near average (+0.2°C to 0.0°C), while the Niño-4 and Niño-1+2 indices were warmer at +1.2°C and +0.8°C, respectively. After decreasing in early to mid January, positive equatorial subsurface temperature anomalies (averaged across 180°-100°W) slightly increased during the latter part of the month. Temperatures remained above average across most of the subsurface ocean, reaching ~150m depth in the central Pacific. During the month, westerly wind anomalies persisted over the western equatorial Pacific Ocean, while upper-level winds were mostly westerly over the east-central and eastern equatorial Pacific. Tropical convection remained suppressed over Indonesia and was enhanced around the Date Line. The traditional and equatorial Southern Oscillation indices were near zero. Overall, the combined oceanic and atmospheric system remained consistent with ENSO-neutral.
The majority of models in the IRI/CPC plume continue to mostly favor ENSO-neutral (Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and +0.5°C) through the Northern Hemisphere summer. The forecaster consensus predicts the Niño-3.4 index will be at or slightly above +0.5°C for the January – March 2020 season, but then slightly favors ENSO-neutral for the February – April 2020 season. While it is expected that oceanic temperatures will remain elevated in the near term, particularly in the western and central equatorial Pacific Ocean, most models predict a gradual decrease in Niño-3.4 SST anomalies into the spring and summer. In summary, ENSO-neutral is favored through Northern Hemisphere spring 2020 (~60% chance), continuing through summer 2020 (~50% chance; click CPC/IRI consensus forecast for the chance of each outcome for each 3-month period).