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Pacific ENSO Update

1st Quarter, 2012 Vol. 18 No. 1


SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE (SST)

During December 2011, below-average sea surface temperatures (SST) associated with La Niña continued across the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean. The weekly SST index in the Niño-3.4 region remained near –1.0°C throughout the month, indicating a weak to moderate La Niña. The oceanic heat content (average temperature in the upper 300m of the ocean) anomalies strengthened across the eastern Pacific, reflecting a large area of below-average temperatures in the subsurface. In the atmosphere, anomalous low-level easterly and upper-level westerly winds strengthened over the central and west-central Pacific. Collectively, the ongoing oceanic and atmospheric patterns reflect the continuation of a weak to moderate La Niña.



Average SST Anomalies

Graphics from NOAA's U.S. Climate Prediction Center




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Page Last Modified: March 22 2012 05:05:14 GMT

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