NOAA 2002-054
Contact: Carmeyia Gillis
NOAA News Releases 2002
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NOAA forecasters today said a weak or moderate El Niño event is likely to develop during the next six-to-nine months, but global impacts should be less than those experienced during the strong 1997-98 El Niño.

NOAA's Climate Prediction Center states that El Niño is still developing and will probably remain that way for the next several months, with abnormally warm ocean surface temperatures continuing over most of the central equatorial Pacific.

"Some events develop quickly and others, like this one, have a more gradual evolution," said Brig. Gen. Jack Kelly USAF (ret.), director of NOAA's National Weather Service. "We are maintaining a constant watch over the conditions of the atmosphere and ocean and will continue providing guidance on potential impacts," said Kelly.

In this month's El Niño/Southern Oscillation Diagnostic Discussion, NOAA scientists report that ocean surface temperatures were more than 0.5 C (0.8 F) above average during April over a large part of the central equatorial Pacific and as much as 2 C (3.6o F) above average in the extreme eastern equatorial Pacific. Also, subsurface ocean temperatures remained more than 2 C (3.6 F) above normal in the central equatorial Pacific.

NOAA will continue monitoring El Niño's developments and provide monthly updates. The El Niño/Southern Oscillation Diagnostic Discussion is a team effort consisting of the Climate Prediction Center (lead), Climate Diagnostics Center, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, National Climatic Data Center, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and the International Research Institute for Climate Prediction.

The Climate Prediction Center is an organization of NOAA's National Weather Service. NOAA's Weather Service is the primary source of weather data, forecasts and warnings for the United States and its territories. NOAA Weather Service operates the most advanced weather and flood warning and forecast system in the world, helping to protect lives and property and enhance the national economy.

To learn more about sea surface temperatures, visit