El Niño Transition Is Occurring

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center today stated “A transition from ENSO-neutral to El Niño conditions is occurring in the equatorial Pacific Ocean.”

SST Anomalies 7 June to 4 July 2009

SST Anomalies 7 June to 4 July 2009

The above graphic (courtesy of NOAA) clearly shows that during the last four weeks, equatorial sea surface temperatures were at least +0.5C above-average across the equatorial Pacific Ocean and at least +1.0C in most of the eastern Pacific.

Usually, an El Niño results in a decrease in hurricane activity in the Atlantic Basin.  However, South Floridians have certainly learned that it only takes one hurricane over our area to make for a bad year.  Andrew in 1992 is an example of tremendous devastation from a single hurricane in a year that had below average activity.  Although it will be interesting to see what the seasonal forecasters call for in their August updates given the warming in the Pacific, it is important to remember that preparedness efforts should not be based on the forecasts of overall activity for the basin.

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