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NOAA satellite image of latest sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific taken Aug. 5, 2003.August 7, 2003 — Current atmospheric and ocean conditions do not support the development of either La Niña or El Niño in the next few months, according to NOAA scientists. The agency’s Climate Prediction Center released its latest El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Diagnostic Discussion today. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of latest sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific taken Aug. 5, 2003. Cooler sea surface temperatures are represented in blue off the coast of South America. Please credit “NOAA.”)

“During July, we saw very little net change in sea-surface temperature departures from average in the Niño regions,” said Vernon Kousky, lead ENSO forecaster. “Current conditions in the central equatorial Pacific are near average, or what meteorologists call, ENSO-neutral,” he said, adding most statistical and atmosphere-ocean model forecasts indicate near-average conditions during the second half of 2003.

During ENSO-neutral periods other climate patterns, such as the Arctic Oscillation/ North Atlantic Oscillation and Pacific North American pattern, become dominant players that could affect cold-season temperature and precipitation patterns over North America.

“Since these patterns are difficult to predict more than 5-10 days in advance, scientists at CPC will continue to monitor these climate patterns for the upcoming fall and winter forecasts,” said Wayne Higgins, principal climate scientist at CPC.

The ENSO Diagnostic Discussion is published monthly by CPC and is a consolidated effort of NOAA and its funded institutions. The CPC predicts and monitors El Niño/La Niña and also produces the nation’s official long-range outlooks and medium-range weather forecasts.

Weekly ENSO updates, the latest sea surface temperatures and features of the equatorial subsurface thermal structure are available on the NOAA Climate Prediction Center home page.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation’s coastal and marine resources. NOAA is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Relevant Web Sites
NOAA El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Discussion

NOAA El Niño/La Niña Page

NOAA Climate Prediction Center

Media Contacts:
Carmeyia Gillis, NOAA Climate Prediction Center, (301) 763-8000 ext. 7163 or Susan Weaver, NOAA National Weather Service, (301) 713-0622