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Sample Forecast for South Pacific

Summary for the South Pacific

Synopsis: La Niña is favored to develop during the Southern Hemisphere winter 2016, with about a 75% chance of La Nina during the fall and winter 2016-17.

During the past month, sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies decreased across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, with near-to-below average SSTs recently emerging in the eastern Pacific. The latest Niño region indices also reflect this decline, with the steepest decreases occurring in the Niño-3 and Niño-1+2 regions. The surface cooling was largely driven by the expansion of below-average subsurface temperatures, which extended to the surface in the eastern Pacific. While oceanic anomalies are clearly trending toward ENSO-neutral, many atmospheric anomalies were still consistent with El Niño, such as the negative equatorial and traditional Southern Oscillation indices. Upper-level easterly winds persisted over the central and eastern Pacific, while low-level winds were near average. Enhanced convection continued over the central tropical Pacific and was suppressed north of Indonesia. Collectively, these anomalies reflect a weakening El Niño and a trend toward ENSO-neutral conditions.

Most models predict the end of El Niño and a brief period of ENSO-neutral by early Southern Hemisphere winter. The model consensus then calls for increasingly negative SST anomalies in the Niño 3.4 region as the winter and spring progress. However, there is clear uncertainty over the timing and intensity of a potential La Niña (3-month Niño-3.4 SST less than or equal to -0.5°C). The forecaster consensus favors La Niña onset during the winter, mainly weighting the dynamical models (such as NCEP CFSv2) and observed trends toward cooler-than-average conditions. Overall, La Niña is favored to develop during the Southern Hemisphere winter 2016, with about a 75% chance of La Nina during the spring and summer 2016-17.

July Temperature

The entire region should be slightly to moderately warmer than normal.

July Precipitation

The eastern third of PNG should be drier than normal. The northern half of PNG should be near normal to slightly wetter than normal. Most of the Solomon Islands should be wetter than normal while Vanuatu and Fiji should be drier than normal. Nauru should be much drier than along with Kiribati. Tuvalu should be wetter than normal and New Caledonia slightly drier than normal.