During February 2023, below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) weakened and currently persist only in the central Pacific Ocean. The latest weekly Niño-3.4 index value was -0.2ºC. In contrast to the central Pacific, SSTs in parts of the eastern Pacific Ocean were significantly above average, with the latest Niño-1+2 index value at +1.1ºC.
In the last month, area-averaged subsurface temperatures became slightly above average, with positive temperature anomalies spanning the Pacific, though remaining mostly at depth. The atmospheric circulation anomalies across the tropical Pacific are lagging the changes in the ocean. Low-level easterly wind anomalies continue over the central Pacific Ocean.
Upper-level westerly wind anomalies were evident over most of the Pacific. Suppressed convection persisted over the central tropical Pacific, while enhanced convection was observed over Indonesia. Collectively, the coupled ocean atmosphere system was consistent with ENSO-neutral.
In summary, La Niña has ended and ENSO-neutral conditions are expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring and early summer 2023.
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Editor’s Note: “ENSO” refers to the El Niño/Southern Oscillation, the variation in winds and sea surface temperatures over the eastern Pacific Ocean that affects the climate of much of the tropics and subtropics.