July 22, 2009

Southeast Summer Climate Outlook

Big Changes in the Pacific Ocean

Current Conditions

The Pacific Ocean is transitioning into the El Niño Phase. Ocean temperatures in the past month have warmed rapidly in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean and are now above the 0.5 C threshold that commonly designates El Niño conditions. This warming completes the transition from a weak La Niña as late as March 2009 through several months of neutral conditions in April, May, and June, to impending El Niño for the remainder of 2009.

El Niño refers to a periodic (every 2-7 years) warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean along the equator from the coast of South America to the central Pacific.

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