ENSO In Neutral Phase; A La Nina Trend

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The equatorial East Pacific surface and subsurface is cooling steadily. The East-central to far eastern equatorial Pacific surface has cooled to below normal. The subsurface East Pacific equatorial region has also cooled. Neutral ENSO is in-place but the short-term trend is toward La Nina.

East equatorial Pacific is cooling

Fig. 1: The Nino34 SSTA 12-week trend is into neutral ENSO phase.

Discussion: The weekly Nino SSTA observations continue to cool (Fig. 1). ENSO is now in neutral phase. Warming near the Dateline (Nino4) has also eased. The Nino34 SSTA (used to judge ENSO phase_ is trending cooler and is now close to the La Nina threshold. SSTA off the northwest coast of South America (Nino12) is very cool. Subsurface observations between NOAA/CPC and the Australia Bureau of Meteorology are cooling in the East Pacific although the data sets are not an exact match. Implied is a trend into La Nina territory during quarter 4 of 2019. Models are not indicating La Nina risk. However, the tendency of models to favor near weak El Nino conditions is clearly in the wrong direction given the trend of the Nino SSTA trend and subsurface regimes of the equatorial East Pacific.