The end of El Niño

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The end of the current El Niño event is anticipated to occur by late spring or early summer of 2024. This transition is expected to lead to a brief period of ENSO-neutral conditions before potentially shifting into a La Niña phase by the fall of 2024.

Transition to ENSO-Neutral and Onset of La Niña

The transition from El Niño to ENSO-neutral is highly likely by April to June 2024, with an 85% probability. Following this, there is a 60% chance that La Niña conditions will develop between June and August 2024. This forecast is supported by several models and expert analyses, which indicate that the sea surface temperature anomalies across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean are continuing to weaken.

Factors Influencing the Transition

The weakening of El Niño is influenced by several factors, including the diminishing warmth in the equatorial Pacific and changes in wind patterns. Typically, as El Niño conditions wane, the trade winds strengthen and help to cool the ocean surface, setting the stage for La Niña to develop. This cooling phase is often marked by an increase in the upwelling of colder, nutrient-rich waters, which can have significant impacts on weather patterns and marine ecosystems globally.

Implications of the Transition

The shift from El Niño to La Niña can have profound effects on global weather patterns. For instance, La Niña typically leads to drier conditions in the southern U.S. and wetter conditions in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. It can also influence the Atlantic hurricane season, potentially leading to more active hurricane conditions due to decreased wind shear over the Atlantic.

Monitoring and Predictions

Climate scientists and meteorological agencies continue to monitor oceanic and atmospheric conditions closely to refine their forecasts and provide updates on the likely impacts of the ENSO phases. The next detailed ENSO Diagnostic Discussion is scheduled for May 9, 2024, which will provide further insights and updates on the evolving conditions. In summary, the current El Niño is expected to end by mid-2024, transitioning through a neutral phase and likely leading to La Niña conditions by late summer. This progression is typical of the ENSO cycle and will be closely watched due to its potential impacts on global climate and weather systems.
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