Weak La Niña to Strengthen Slightly Over Coming Year

La Niña conditions have re-emerged in the tropical Pacific Ocean since August 2011 but are weaker than the previous episode. However, this La Niña episode is expected to strengthen slightly over the coming year, and is likely to persist through to the end of this year and into early 2012, possibly reverting to a neutral state during March to May of 2012.

This, according to the latest update from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) who released an update on Thursday based on input from climate prediction centres and experts from around the world.

La Niña is seen creating unusually cool ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, and responsible for affecting many aspects of the planet’s climate.

This current episode of La Niña followed closely on the heels of another episode, a rare but not unheard of occurrence. The previous episode started in September of 2010 and ended with neutral conditions establishing themselves in May of 2011.

According to the WMO, “historical precedents and the latest outputs from forecast models suggest that peak intensity of this La Niña will be reached in late 2011 or early 2012, and that it is very unlikely to reach conditions as strong as those of the 2010-11 La Niña event,, taking into account forecasts from a large number of computer models.”

This most recent WMO update points to the possibility of a return to natural conditions taking place between March to May of 2012, however, unsurprisingly, closer monitoring is needed to clarify the point any further.

Source: World Meteorological Organization
Image Source: Josh on Flickr

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