Predictions Strengthen For El Niño Continuing Throughout Year

As El Niño enters transition period, agencies predict event to continue throughout 2015
April 9, 2015

By the end of March 2015, weak El Niño conditions were reflected by above-average sea surface temperatures (SST) across the equatorial Pacific, and by the expected tropical atmospheric response.

Compared with last month, more models predict El Niño to continue throughout 2015, NOAA/National Weather Service\'s Climate Prediction Center reports. However, model forecast skill tends to be lower during the Northern Hemisphere spring, which limits the forecast probabilities of El Niño through the year.

At this time of year, the traditional El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) transition period, there is also considerable uncertainty as to how strong this event may become. The agencies conclude there is an approximately 70% chance that El Niño will continue through the Northern Hemisphere summer 2015, and a greater than 60% chance that it will last through autumn.

The Australean Bureau of Meteorology says caution should be exercised when using model outlooks to predict the likelihood of El Niño. The Bureau\'s ENSO Tracker remains at El Niño WATCH status. This means that when current observations and model outlooks are considered together, there is about a 50% chance of El Niño developing in the coming months, which is twice the normal likelihood.