GLOBAL-  In a forecast that could have far-reaching implications for global weather patterns, experts predict a transition from the current El Niño conditions to ENSO-neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) within the next month. 

Moreover, there’s a significant probability that La Niña, the counterpart to El Niño, could develop later in the year, with chances increasing throughout the summer and early fall.

Recent climate observations by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service have revealed a mix of below-average and above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the equatorial Pacific during April 2024. 

Although some regions of the eastern Pacific experienced cooler than average SSTs, warmer temperatures dominated most of the equatorial Pacific. This distribution has contributed to the weakening of El Niño conditions.

Analysis of weekly Niño index values across various regions shows a trend toward ENSO-neutral conditions, ranging from +0.5°C to +0.8°C. 

Subsurface ocean temperatures remained below average throughout April, extending from the Date Line to the eastern Pacific, hinting at a potential setup for La Niña development.

The atmospheric conditions mirror this transition, with easterly wind anomalies observed over the western equatorial Pacific and near-average conditions in upper-level winds. Convection patterns across the equatorial Pacific and Indonesia were reported as near average.

Experts’ dynamic climate models suggest a 49% chance of La Niña developing as early as June-August 2024, with probabilities increasing to 69% during the July-September period. This forecast aligns with the typical pattern where La Niña often succeeds strong El Niño events.

El Niño and La Niña are critical climate phenomena that form part of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle and exert profound impacts on global weather, ecosystems, and economies. 

While El Niño disrupts weather patterns, with wetter conditions in some regions and drier, warmer conditions in others, La Niña often leads to contrasting effects.

The potential transition to La Niña significantly impacts precipitation, storms, and temperature distributions worldwide. It could influence everything from drought and flooding patterns to agricultural productivity and energy demand.

Climate experts and stakeholders eagerly await NOAA’s next ENSO Diagnostics Discussion, scheduled for June 13, 2024. This meeting will provide further updates on these evolving climate conditions and their potential impacts on various regions across the globe.

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