Synopsis: ENSO-neutral conditions have returned and are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring 2017.
La Niña conditions are no longer present, with slightly below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) observed across the central equatorial Pacific and above-average SSTs increasing in the eastern Pacific. The latest weekly Niño index values were -0.3°C in the westernmost Niño-4 and Niño-3.4 regions, and +1.5°C in the easternmost Niño-1+2 region. The upper-ocean heat content anomaly increased during January and was slightly positive when averaged across the eastern Pacific, a reflection of above-average temperatures at depth. Atmospheric convection remained suppressed over the central tropical Pacific and enhanced over Indonesia. The low-level easterly winds were slightly enhanced over the western tropical Pacific, and upper-level westerly winds were near average. Overall, the ocean and atmosphere system is consistent with ENSO-neutral conditions.
Most models predict the continuation of ENSO-neutral (3-month average Niño-3.4 index between -0.5°C and 0.5°C) through the Northern Hemisphere summer. However, a few dynamical model forecasts, including the NCEP CFSv2, anticipate an onset of El Niño as soon as the Northern Hemisphere spring (March-May 2017). Because of typically high uncertainty in forecasts made at this time of the year for the upcoming spring and summer, and the lingering La Niña-like tropical convection patterns, the forecaster consensus favors ENSO-neutral during the spring with a ~60% chance. Thereafter, there are increasing odds for El Niño toward the second half of 2017 (~50% chance in September-November). In summary, ENSO-neutral conditions have returned and are favored to continue through at least the Northern Hemisphere spring 2017.
Most landmasses will experience average winds. Belo normal winds are forecast for eastern China and southeast India and south of the Sahel in Africa. Above average winds are limited to Western Europe and the southern Arabian Peninsula.
Much of the northern half of the northern hemisphere should be below normal while the mid-latitudes and tropics should be slightly below normal and the southern latitudes should be below normal.
Much of North, Central and South America are forecast as usually low while similar conditions prevail in much of Southern Africa and Eastern and northern Russia and the Korean Peninsula and Japan and eastern Australia and New Zealand. Only the eastern seas board of China is expected to have unusually high temperature outbreaks.
Most land areas are forecast to have usually high or usually low extreme forecast events. Parts of the Amazon Basin could experience extremely low rainfall events as well as parts of the Congo Basin and Southern Thailand and Peninsular Malaysia. Unusually wet events are possible in eastern Mexico and southern Texas and eastern and mid-central China as well as parts of southern West African countries.
Warmer than normal conditions prevail in the western North Atlantic and near normal conditions elsewhere. In the South Atlantic near normal conditions prevail.
The Northern Pacific is near normal with cooler to near normal waters in the eastern tropical Pacific. The far northern Pacific should be cooler than normal as well as the Arctic sea north of North America while the Arctic Sea north of Russia should be considerably warmer than normal. The South Pacific is warmer than normal off the South American coast and also in the western South Pacific The sea around New Zealand is cooler than normal.
The Indian Ocean is near normal in the north and cooler than normal for a larger area south of the equator off of the coast of Western Australia.
North and South America near normal with slightly wetter conditions also northern and northeast South America.
Southeast Asia looks drier than normal for much of insular SE Asia. In the Central to western Pacific it should be wetter than normal north of the equator and drier than normal to the south of the equator.
Much of Africa should be near normal except for parts of the Southern West Africa that should be wetter than normal. The Middle East and western central Asia should be near normal. Europe should be near normal.
Much of North America, the Caribbean, and Central America should be warmer than normal. The Northeast of the USA and Western Canada that should be cooler than normal along with northern South America.
New Zealand should be near normal. Most of Australia should be near normal except for the Eastern Seaboard that should be warmer than normal. Southeast and East Asia should be warmer than normal with India and eastern Pakistan near normal. Southwest India should be warmer than normal as well as western China and Tibet
The Congo Basin should be cooler than normal and Southern Africa near normal and the Sahel and south of the Sahel should be warmer than normal. The Middle East and Iran and Afghanistan should be warmer than normal. The Arctic should be considerably warmer than normal in eastern Canada and cooler than normal elsewhere. Most of Europe should be near normal except Northern Europe could be moderately cooler than normal.