From: NOAA News
Published September 7, 2007 05:35 PM

NOAA Experts: La Nina Is Coming

WASHINGTON - Scientists with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center say that La Nina is on its way in today’s release of the monthly El Nino/Southern Oscillation Diagnostic Discussion.


“While we can’t officially call it a La Nina yet, we expect that this pattern will continue to develop during the next three months, meeting the NOAA definition for a La Nina event later this year,” said Mike Halpert, acting deputy director of the Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Md. Watch the video:


La Nina refers to the periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east-central equatorial Pacific that occur every three to five years. NOAA declares the onset of a La Nina event when the three-month average sea-surface temperature departure exceeds -0.5 degrees Celsius (-0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) in the east-central equatorial Pacific [between 5 degrees North and 5 degrees South and 170 degrees West - 120 degrees West].


The development of La Nina conditions is supported by increasing below-normal-sea surface temperatures across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific and stronger-than-average easterly winds across the west-central equatorial Pacific. “Nearly all operational dynamical models, including the National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s Climate Forecast System and many of the statistical models also favor a La Nina event,” said Halpert.


With La Nina developing, seasonal forecasters expect wetter-than-normal conditions in the Pacific Northwest and drier-than-normal conditions in the already drought-stricken southwestern U. S. this Fall.


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“These conditions also reinforce NOAA’s August forecast for an above normal Atlantic hurricane season,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., NOAA’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster.


The Climate Prediction Center routinely publishes an assessment of ENSO conditions each Monday and the next official ENSO Diagnostic Discussion will be issued on October 11, 2007. The El Nino/Southern Oscillation Diagnostic Discussion is a product of the Climate Prediction Center in association with its funded institutions.


NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.


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