The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center (CPC) says ENSO-neutral continued in January, although the periodic emergence of below-average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) was observed. It says nearly all model forecasts indicate the persistence of ENSO-neutral conditions continuing into spring, but an increasing number of models suggest the possible onset of El Nino this summer, which if realized, reduces the risk of unfavorable weather for Midwest crops.
"Strong surface westerly winds in the western Pacific and the slight eastward shift of above-average temperatures in the subsurface western Pacific potentially portend warming in the coming months," says CPC. "However, the spring is also historically associated with lower forecast skill, so the chance of El Nino developing after the spring is not much different from ENSO-neutral. The consensus forecast is for ENSO-neutral to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring 2014."