Mild El Niño Still Expected, but Event Remains Slow to Develop

Posted on 01/10/2019 9:01 AM

The U.S. Climate Prediction Center (CPC) notes that all four Niño indices decreased the past couple weeks and conditions remain ENSO-neutral. While sea surface temps remain above normal, there has not yet been a clear coupling of atmospheric conditions to the ocean. CPC still puts 65% odds on El Niño developing soon and continuing through at least spring, though it is expected to be a weak event and significant global impacts are not expected.

Australian meteorologists also note the recent cooling of sea surface temps but maintain an “El Niño Alert.” However, they now expect conditions to remain ENSO-neutral through spring. They say if sea surface temps remain above normal through winter, an El Niño event could form later this year.


El Niño should have limited impact on South American weather, crops

The slower-than-expected development of El Niño is the likely reason for the erratic weather in Brazil and Argentina so far this growing season. El Niño events typically produce favorable growing conditions across much of Brazil and Argentina. With CPC predicting limited global impacts even if El Niño develops, there appears to be little hope of a significant change in the erratic weather pattern in South America. If there is an impact, it would come late in the growing season, meaning safrinha corn in Brazil would be the crop most likely affected. 

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