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ENSO Tracker - Jan 2022 | CLIMAS

 SW Climate Outlook

ENSO Tracker - Jan 2022

ENSO Tracker

Sea surface temperature (SST) forecasts for Feb – Apr 2022 indicate cool conditions across the equatorial Pacific (Fig. 1). SST anomalies have reached the La Niña threshold (Fig. 2), and ENSO outlooks generally call for La Niña conditions to last through winter 2021-2022 and return to neutral conditions in spring/summer 2022.

Forecast Roundup: On Jan 11 the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) called for an 80-percent chance of La Niña conditions to last through winter and an 80-percent chance they would move to ENSO-neutral by the end spring. On Jan 13 the NOAA Climate Prediction Center (CPC) maintained their “La Niña Advisory” noting “the coupled ocean-atmosphere system reflected a mature La Niña”, and called for a 67-percent chance of La Niña lasting through the Mar-May period, and a 51-percent chance of neutral conditions during Apr-Jun. On Jan 13 the International Research Institute (IRI) issued an ENSO Quick Look (Fig. 3), noting “Sea Surface Temperatures remain well below normal in the central-eastern equatorial Pacific”, and “the evolution of key oceanic and atmospheric variables is consistent with weak La Niña conditions”. On Jan 18 the Australian Bureau of Meteorology outlook stated “the 2021-22 La Niña is near or at its peak” and noted warming sub-surface waters as an early indicator of the gradual shift back to neutral. The North American Multi-Model Ensemble (solid and dashed black line, Fig. 4) is well into La Niña territory, but similarly forecasts a gradual transition back to neutral conditions by mid-2022.

Summary: Seasonal outlooks reached consensus on La Niña, forecasting the event to last through winter, and to move back to ENSO-neutral conditions in spring or early summer. To date, winter conditions are not exactly canonical (i.e. wetter and at times cooler than anticipated), but the impact of La Nina will be assessed in monthly, seasonal, water-year, and annual totals, not based on weather events on daily or weekly timescales.

Online Resources

  • Figure 1 - Australian Bureau of Meteorology -
  • Figure 2 - NOAA - Climate Prediction Center -
  • Figure 3 - International Research Institute for Climate and Society -
  • Figure 4 - NOAA - Climate Prediction Center -