Friday, June 8, 2012

El Niño Watch: The Odds Are Rising

We'll get into what this means for investors next week.
Here are the current model runs from NOAA's Climate Prediction Center:
and the diagnostic discussion:
issued by
and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society
7 June 2012
ENSO Alert System Status: El Niño Watch
Synopsis: There is a 50% chance that El Niño conditions will develop during the second half of 2012.
ENSO-neutral conditions prevailed in May 2012, following the dissipation of La Niña in April. Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are currently near average across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean, and above-average in the far eastern Pacific (Fig. 1). The Niño 4 and Niño 3.4 indices were near zero during most of May, while the Niño 3 and Niño 1+2 indices remained positive (Fig. 2). The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) anomalies became more strongly positive in May (Fig. 3), as above-average sub-surface temperatures became established across most of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific (Fig. 4). The low-level trade winds and convection over the central equatorial Pacific were near average during May, although convection remained enhanced over portions of the western Pacific (Fig. 5). Collectively, these oceanic and atmospheric patterns indicate ENSO-neutral conditions.

The extensive volume of above-average sub-surface water temperatures indicates that the tropical Pacific SST anomalies will likely warm further in the coming months. A majority of models predict ENSO-neutral to continue through the June-August (JJA) season (Fig. 6). Thereafter, most of the dynamical models predict El Niño to develop during JAS, while the statistical models tend to favor the continuation of ENSO-neutral.


The IRI's chance of El Niño by Aug-Oct, which was pegged at 46% in the April report is now up to 54%:

IRI Probabilistic ENSO Prediction for NINO3.4 Region
Season La Niña Neutral El Niño
MJJ 20123%84%13%
JJA 20124%59%37%
JAS 20124%48%48%
ASO 20124%42%54%
SON 20124%41%55%
OND 20124%43%53%
NDJ 20133%45%52%
DJF 20134%50%46%
JFM 20134%53%43%
May 2012
Probabilistic ENSO prediction archive
ENSO diagnostics & prediction info archive