Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, based on NASA satellite data have found out that 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.
"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).
El Nino or La Nina are names assigned to meteorological phenomena tied to the surface temperature of waters in the Pacific Ocean. During El Nino, those temperatures are unusually high, leading to changing weather patterns across the globe. La Nina will often follow an El Nino pattern, creating mostly opposite effects from its warmer brother.
The GMAO uses NASA satellite data to predict the likelihood of an El Nino or La Nina 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 Nina 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.
(With agency input)