NASA said on September 13, 2016 that water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are expected to be around normal for the rest of 2016. That’s according to forecasts from the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO), which operates by assimilating real-time data into computer models. These researchers said that current conditions in the Pacific are now neutral and also said a La Niña event in late 2016 is unlikely.
We had a strong El Niño in late 2015 and early 2016. That’s the name given to an event where scientists measure warmer-than-normal water in the Pacific. El Niños can affect weather around the world.
Historically, some of the larger El Niños are followed by La Niñas, in which deep, colder-than-normal water surfaces in the eastern Pacific, off the coast of South America. But that hasn’t happened this year.
Steven Pawson, chief of the GMAO, said in the NASA statement:
We are consistently predicting a more neutral state, with no La Niña or El Niño later this year.
Bottom line: The El Niño of late 2015 and early 2016 probably won’t be followed by a La Niña.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.