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Sample Forecast for South Pacific

Summary for the South Pacific

Synopsis: El Niño is expected to remain strong through the Southern Hemisphere summer 2015-16, with a transition to ENSO-neutral anticipated during late autumn or early winter 2016.

A strong El Niño continued during November as indicated by well above-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean. The Niño-4, Niño-3.4 and Niño-3 indices rose to their highest levels so far during this event, while the Niño-1+2 index remained approximately steady. The subsurface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific, while still well above average, decreased slightly due to the eastward push of the upwelling phase of an equatorial oceanic Kelvin wave. Low-level westerly wind anomalies and upper-level easterly wind anomalies continued over the most of the tropical Pacific. The traditional and equatorial Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values remained negative. These conditions are associated with enhanced convection over the central tropical Pacific and suppressed convection over Indonesia. Collectively, these atmospheric and oceanic anomalies reflect a strong El Niño episode that has matured.

Most models indicate that a strong El Niño will continue through the Southern Hemisphere summer 2015-16, followed by weakening and a transition to ENSO-neutral during the late autumn or early winter. The forecaster consensus remains nearly unchanged from last month, with the expectation that this El Niño will rank among the three strongest episodes as measured by the 3-month SST departures in the Niño 3.4 region dating back to 1950. El Niño is expected to remain strong through Southern Hemisphere summer 2015-16, with a transition to ENSO-neutral anticipated during the late autumn or early winter 2016.s

February Temperature

Parts of northern PNG should be near normal to slightly cooler than normal and the rest warmer than normal and the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia are expected to be slightly to moderately warmer than normal. Fiji should be near normal to slightly cooler than normal.

February Precipitation

The interior of PNG is near normal to wetter than normal while coastal areas are drier than normal in the north and across to New Britain. Normal and moderately above normal rainfall persists in the Solomon Islands with the rest of the region drier than normal. Nauru and Tuvalu should be drier than normal and Kiribati near normal. Cyclone seasonal has begun and while dryness may be forecast for parts of the region this can be interrupted by cyclonic activity.

March Temperature

The entire region should be slightly to moderately warmer than normal except for Fiji that should be near normal to slightly cooler than normal.

March Precipitation

The interior of PNG is drier normal while coastal areas are near normal in the north and across to New Britain. Normal and moderately above normal rainfall persists in the Solomon Islands with the rest of the region drier than normal. Nauru, Tuvalu and northern Kiribati should be drier than normal. Cyclone seasonal continues and while dryness may be forecast for parts of the region this can be interrupted by cyclonic activity and short duration high intensity rainfall.