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Sample Forecast for South Pacific

Summary for the South Pacific

A transition to ENSO-neutral is likely during late Southern Hemisphere spring or early winter 2016, with a possible transition to La Niña conditions during the spring.

Indicative of a strong El Niño, sea surface temperature (SSTs) anomalies were in excess of 2°C across the east-central equatorial Pacific Ocean during January. The Niño indices in the eastern Pacific declined, while Niño-3.4 and Niño-4 were nearly unchanged. The subsurface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific increased due to a downwelling Kelvin wave, but toward the end of the month weakened again in association with the eastward shift of below-average temperatures at depth in the central Pacific. Also, low-level westerly wind anomalies and upper-level easterly wind anomalies continued over much of the tropical Pacific. The traditional and equatorial Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values remained negative but weakened relative to last month. Convection remained much enhanced over the central and east-central tropical Pacific and suppressed over Indonesia. Collectively, these anomalies reflect the continuation of a strong El Niño.

Most models indicate that El Niño will weaken, with a transition to ENSO-neutral during the late autumn or early winter 2016. Thereafter, the chance of La Niña conditions increases into the spring. While there is both model and physical support for La Niña following strong El Niño, considerable uncertainty remains. A transition to ENSO-neutral is likely during late Northern Hemisphere autumn or early winter 2016, with a possible transition to La Niña conditions during the spring.

March Temperature

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

March Precipitation

The e The highlands of PNG should be near normal to slightly wetter than normal along with the region around Lae along with Nauru and Kiribati while the rest of the region should be slightly to moderately drier than normal.

April 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.

April Precipitation

The highlands of PNG should be near normal to slightly wetter than normal along with the region around Lae and across to Rabaul along with Nauru and Kiribati and most of New Caledonia while the rest of the region should be slightly to moderately drier than normal.