Figure 1 – Courtesy of NCOF
The coastal waters off the coast of Chile seem to have cooled down since last month. There were SST anomalies 0f +5°C on the chart for the 18th of March last month (fig 1), but the highest that I can see in the same area is +3°C twenty five days later (fig 2). The experts are saying that an El Niño event still remains a distinct possibility towards the end of this year though.
Figure 2 – Courtesy of NCOF
I’m no expert and don’t pretend to understand why the cold Humboldt current seems to be the controlling mechanism for the upwelling of warmer water off the coast of Chile (fig 3).
Figure 3 – Courtesy of Wikipedia
But this map I found after a little research on the Internet indicate that there are more than just the Humboldt current at play down the coast of South America (fig 4).
Figure 4 – Courtesy of CALEB
I shall of course try to find out and report back, unless one of my readers would like to do it for me.
Latest SST (courtesy of NOAA-NCEP)
The latest El Niño (for region 3.4) which started back in March 2015 continues into what is highly likely to be its final month of May 2016 according to the latest Oceanic Niño Index [ONI] figures that have just been released. I say that because the ONI is a three-month running mean, and the latest value for region 3.4 during May was +0.30°C which is below the 0.5°C threshold and markedly down on the +1.09°C of the previous month. That’s a duration of 15 months, which could have easily have been four months longer if it weren’t for a stalled start in had. Despite this it still makes it the second longest El Niño in the current series back to 1950, and it also had the highest anomaly of +2.3 of any other event. That still might only make it the second warmest behind the 1997-98 event, but as with everything to do with these cycles it may be down to which region and what algorithm you use to decide these things. It’s interesting to see the cold waters spread across the equator from east to west and splitting the anomalously warm ocean.
El Niño & La Niña Cycles January 1950 – May 2016
Tabulated Oceanic Niño Index [ONI] January 1950 – May 2016
Oceanic Niño Index [ONI] June 1986 – May 2016