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ENSO-neutral conditions present, likely to remain through Spring 2020

By Reginald Stanley. Posted October 14, 2019, 2:02 AM.

The El Nino Southern Oscillation, or ENSO, has remained in a neutral state since roughly July across the equatorial Pacific Ocean, according to the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

The Climate Prediction Center issued an update for the ENSO Alert System Status on October 7, stating the ENSO-neutral conditions are present and predict a 75 percent chance of neutral conditions remaining through Fall 2019, with a 55-60 percent chance of neutral conditions continuing into Spring 2020. ENSO conditions had reached weak El Nino status throughout the winter of 2018-19, when Southern California experienced above-average rainfall. El Nino conditions have historically been correlated with above-average rainfall in California, however in recent years, this has shown to not always be the case - particularly in the cases of the very dry 2006-07 season and below-average 2015-16 season.

ENSO-neutral winters occur when neither the threshold for El Nino nor La Nina are met, and are somewhat an uncommon occurrence by comparison. ENSO-neutral conditions have not shown any consistent rainfall patterns for Southern California, however several very dry rainy seasons did occur during ENSO-neutral winters in the region - namely 2001-02 and 2013-14. Other ENSO-neutral winters since 2000 occurred in 2003-04 and 2012-13.

Further information regarding the Climate Prediction Center and ENSO may be found here. Data showing all historical El Nino, La Nina and ENSO-neutral episodes since 1950 can be accessed here.

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