A transition to ENSO-neutral is likely during late Northern Hemisphere spring or early summer 2016, with a possible transition to La Niña conditions during the fall.
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 spring or early summer 2016. Thereafter, the chance of La Niña conditions increases into the fall. 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 spring or early summer 2016, with a possible transition to La Niña conditions during the fall.
Most landmasses will experience average wind conditions for the month. Winds will be less than average in much of the central and western and southeastern Pacific Ocean and North Indian Ocean into SE Asia and across much of Africa and southern South America along with the Central Atlantic ocean. Around New Zealand winds will be stronger than normal along the east coast north as will the western South Pacific through to the far Southwest Pacific through the southern Philippines and the northwest Pacific and North Atlantic including and Eastern Europe and the UK.
Much of the northern hemisphere including Europe and the USA, Canada and Europe should be above normal. Most of Australia and southern South America and New Zealand should be slightly to moderately below normal. The Philippines should be above normal.
Cooler outbreaks are forecast for eastern north Asia and warm outbreaks in the Philippines and eastern China and the eastern Caribbean and northern Brazil.
In the western hemisphere extreme precipitation events are forecast for Mexico, and the Southwest and across to Texas and parts of Southern California and parts of the northern Caribbean through southern Florida and Chile and Bolivia in South America. The Amazon could have unusually to very unusually low rainfall.
In SE Asia and the South Pacific unusually low rainfall is forecast through the island portion of the region. In Northeast Asia unusually to very unusually high rainfall events are possible in much of China and also in Central Africa and isolated parts of west Asia. Dryness marks much of the Philippines and western Indonesia and Peninsular Malaysia.
Through much of Europe and Asia usual high to normal conditions prevail except in the UK where the risk of higher rainfall persists.
Unusual low is forecast for parts of Southern Africa.
The slow evolution of ENSO to a more neutral situation can be viewed through sea surface temperature anomaly maps. The Eastern Pacific is still warmer than normal as is the Indian Ocean but less than previously forecast. The western and central Atlantic is also warmer than normal. The ocean surrounding New Zealand is warmer than normal to the east and north and warmer than normal around most of Australia. The South Pacific remains cooler than normal and is related to ongoing rainfall deficits for the region. The sea in Northeast Asia is also considerably cooler than normal as well as in the northeast Canada while the artic sea is warmer than normal.
Slightly wetter conditions prevail in much of the northern hemisphere with greater anomalies in the Pacific Northwest of the USA and the Caribbean and Southern Florida and SE China while drier than normal conditions prevail through the Western and Southwest Pacific region. In the Southern hemisphere dryness is shown for Southern Africa, Madagascar and the Amazon basin and far southern Chile and the South Pacific islands. Wetter than normal conditions prevail in the northern quadrant of the South Pacific along the equator and into the Indonesian archipelago and the Northern Territory of Australia. Much of Europe and Eurasia is near normal to slightly wetter than normal.
Much of Canada down to the Gulf of Mexico are above normal for temperature while the western States of the USA and Mexico are cooler to considerably cooler than normal along with western Australia and Central Africa. Central America and the Caribbean and the northern half of South America are above normal as is the Eastern half of Asia and most of Australia and Southeast Asia and India and southern part of the Middle East. Part of southern China and northern SE Asia and far Northeast Asia are much colder than normal along with much of East Africa. Eastern Indonesia through Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific should be slightly cooler than normal. While most of the eastern half of Australia and New Zealand should be slightly to moderately above normal. Argentina and southern Brazil should be cooler than normal.