Fig. 1: The Australia Bureau of Meteorology Nino34 SSTA forecast utilizing all dynamic models reveals neutral phase by May. Expectations of La Nina is likely for later this year.
Discussion: The drought adversely affecting shipping the Panama Canal region continues. The drought is linked to the El Nino of 2023-24. Until El Nino reverses to La Nina, the dryness in Panama is likely to continue or rain that does occur is not enough to ease the drought. Currently, El Nino 2023-24 remains robust and although weakening is forecast for Q1/2024 there is no sign of that trend developing yet. Most ENSO forecast models weaken El Nino to neutral phase by May (Fig. 1). La Nina development is likely for the last third of 2024. Consequently, hope of a wet climate in Panama could hold off until Q4/2024. The Climate Impact Company constructed analog forecast projects a wet pattern across Panama during OCT/NOV/DEC 2024 (Fig. 2). There is potential for having to wait until later this year for meaningful rains to ease the drought pattern.
Fig. 2: The Climate Impact Company constructed analog precipitation anomaly climate forecast for OCT/NOV/DEC 2024.