Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology reports today that the tropical Pacific Ocean continues a general trend toward El Niño. Just over half of the climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest El Niño thresholds will be exceeded by August. An El Niño ALERT remains in place, indicating at least a 70% chance of an El Niño developing in 2014.
The tropical Pacific Ocean surface has warmed steadily since February, with sea surface temperature anomalies increasing by 0.5 to 1.0 °C. For El Niño to be established and maintained, the sea surface needs to warm further, and be accompanied by a persistent weakening of the trade winds and a consistent increase in cloudiness near the Date Line. In the past fortnight, trade winds have generally been near normal, though have weakened once again in recent days.