Sea Surface Temperature Update - Pacific
August and early September is the time of year we begin to closely watch sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. Clues to whether or not we will have an El Nino or La Nina begin to show this time of year.
The start of 2019 and through the spring and early summer, the subtropical Pacific was in a weak El Nino phase. This is one of the reasons that the spring and early summer was so wet in many areas of the USA. However, since June, we have observed that sea surface temperatures have decreased just north of the equator west of South America.
The cooling sea surface temperatures indicate that the most recent El Nino has faded, and it may be a coin flip between having another El Nino or a La Nina during the winter of 2019/2020.
The graphic below shows the coolness (blue) near the equator showing the end of the El Nino. However, note the warmer sea surface temperatures across the central and north Pacific. Those warmer waters may be a cold signal for the winter of 2019/2020. We will monitor the changes in the sea surface temperatures in the coming weeks and will keep you informed on whether not it will be La Nina or an El Nino this coming season.