Equatorial Subsurface Pacific Ocean is Warmer Than Normal

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Highlight: Weak La Nina hanging on. But! Subsurface East Pacific warming. Neutral ENSO ahead, La Nina returns later 2022.

Fig. 1: The 12-week Nino SSTA observations reveal La Nina 2020-22 is barely hanging on!

Discussion: The Nino34 SSTA remains just-within the La Nina threshold similar to both the Nino3 and Nino4 regions (Fig. 1). Clearly, the more established cooler SSTA associated with La Nina from just a few weeks ago is fading. Weak La Nina is barely hanging on! In the subsurface equatorial Pacific Ocean, June 2022 data reveals the entire stretch of the Pacific is now warmer than normal (Fig. 2). If this trend were to continue and strengthen, El Nino risk would appear. However, given the increasing anomalous warmth of the East Indian Ocean tropics (associated with a developing negative Indian Ocean Dipole) and lingering warm SSTA in the tropical West Pacific associated with lingering La Nina climate, atmospheric conditions that can regenerate La Nina are forecast for SEP/OCT/NOV 2022. The third surge of the 2020-22 La Nina should be the last and El Nino risk is on the table for 2023.

Fig. 2: Upper ocean heat across the equatorial Pacific reveals recent warming.