As a counterpoint to the Main Page article, I'm not yet convinced that the 'early indicators are shaping up to be an above average year'. NOAA's latest SST ENSO forecast (issued on April 11th) states an expectation that the current El Nino will last through this Spring with ENSO neutral conditions likely for this Summer.
As mentioned earlier in this thread, the winter SST anomaly predictions often come with a high degree of variability, and the same degree of forecast variability has already surfaced this year. As of February 18th the NOAA consensus was that the current El Nino SST anomaly had peaked at +1.2C in Sept/Oct/Nov - but the actual peak was +1.8C in Nov/Dec/Jan. I'd anticipate that the anomaly for Feb/Mar/Apr will be around +1.1C and that the decline will continue to an ENSO neutral state by Jul/Aug/Sep.
( Note that the anomaly for Feb/Mar/Apr came in at +1.2C )
I took a look at the SST climatological data where the SST anomaly had been around +0.6C during May/June/July of the previous year and had increased to about +1.5C in Jan/Feb/Mar and then decreasing at that point (or earlier). 1958, 1966, 1973 and 1992 met the criteria, however, the rate of decline was quite similar to the rate expected for this season in 1958 and 1966. The season totals for 1958 were 10/7/5 and for 1966 the totals were 11/7/4. While the SSTs in the tropical Atlantic are expected to be above normal, the amount of temperature increase is not too significant at about +0.5 or 0.6C.
With all of those considerations in mind, I'll nudge my seasonal expectations up to 10/6/3 - a rather normal season. Cheers, ED
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