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El Niño Has Ended. Possibility of La Niña Watched Closely.
Geneva, 6 July 2010 (WMO) – Following the rapid dissipation of El Niño in early May 2010, cool-neutral to weak La Niña conditions have developed in the tropical Pacific. These conditions are more likely than not to strengthen into a basin-wide La Niña over the coming months, according to the El Niño/La Niña Update issued today by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
La Niña is characterized by unusually cool ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific. It is the opposite condition of El Niño, which is characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. Both events can disrupt the normal patterns of tropical precipitation and atmospheric circulation, and have widespread impacts on climate in many parts of the world.
By mid-June, the sea-surface temperatures had decreased to approximately 0.5 degrees Celsius below normal over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, near the borderline of La Niña conditions. Further, below average sea temperatures exist beneath the surface of the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. Forecast models continue to predict further decreases in the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific sea-surface temperature. In particular, most dynamical models strongly favour further La Niña development.
While it is likely that La Niña conditions will further develop in the next several months, the timing and magnitude of such an event in 2010 are as yet uncertain, with no indications at this time of a particularly strong event in terms of sea-surface temperatures.
WMO prepares El Niño/La Niña Updates in collaboration with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), USA, by consulting climate prediction centres and experts around the world and facilitating the development of a consensus. WMO Members will continue to carefully monitor the situation in the tropical Pacific. The unusual climate patterns and extremes that occur in association with La Niña conditions also occur independently of La Niña, and therefore individual users of climate information should seek detailed interpretation for their locations and sectors. Over the coming months, the climate forecasting community will provide detailed interpretations of regional climate conditions through the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services.
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