There is unlikely to be a La Nina event in late 2016 as water temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean should be just around average for the rest of the year, predicts a model based on NASA satellite data.
“We are consistently predicting a more neutral state, with no La Nina or El Nino later this year,” said Steven Pawson, Chief of Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO).
The GMAO uses NASA satellite data to predict the likelihood of an El Niño or La Niña event.
Last winter saw an extremely strong El Nino event, in which warmer-than-average water sloshed toward the eastern Pacific Ocean.
Historically, some of the larger El Nino events are followed by a La Nina event, in which deep, colder-than-average water surfaces in the eastern Pacific Ocean, off the coast of South America.
For GMAO, the seasonal forecasts are one way to use NASA satellite data to improve near-term climate predictions of the Earth system.
“We’re really trying to bring as much NASA observational data as possible into these systems,” Pawson said.
The scientists with GMAO feed a range of NASA satellite data and other information into the seasonal forecast model to predict if an El Nino or La Niña event will occur in the nine months – information on the aerosols and ozone in the atmosphere, sea ice, winds, sea surface heights and temperatures, and more.