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NW Fishletter #375, November 6, 2017

[12] La Niña Watch Still in Effect for Winter 2017-2018

The chance of a La Niña event for winter 2017-2018 remains unchanged from last month's forecast, at 55-65 percent, NOAA Climate Prediction Center said Oct. 12.

Recently the sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean have warmed, reversing the cooling trend observed earlier. However, whether the warming continues or is only temporary remains to be seen.

The forecast team for NOAA's National Weather Service and Climate Prediction Center is for now continuing the current La Niña Watch until a clearer picture develops.

Sea surface temperature approached average after several weeks close to the La Niña threshold, which is 0.5 degrees Celsius colder than average, according to Emily Becker, a NOAA researcher and editor of the ENSO Blog.

Becker described atmospheric conditions as "generally consistent with La Niña," but sea surface temperatures as "volatile."

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said in an Oct. 10 release that international climate models surveyed by the bureau suggested the warming might be anomalous and further cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean was likely.

The bureau added, "Five of eight models suggest sea surface temperatures will reach La Niña thresholds by December 2017, but only three maintain values for long enough to be classified as a La Niña event."

The next NOAA forecast is set for Nov. 9. -L. B.

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