A broad expanse of 80+ degree water dominated the tropical Pacific last winter. This animation shows how these warm surface waters were eroded by waves of cool water that pulsed across the equator throughout spring and summer.
Cooler-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the central-eastern tropical Pacific ocean have continued and deepened during September as compared to August. Sea surface temperature is one criteria that climate experts use to monitor and predict La Niña—the cool phase of the ENSO climate pattern.
The global mean sea level in 2015 was approximately 7 centimeters (2.7 inches) above the 1993 average, making it the highest observed since the satellite altimeter record began in 1993. Regional variations highlighted the short-term influence of climate phenomena like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the largest El Niño event since 1997/98.
Currently, the risk of regional-scale tornado outbreaks is predictable only about 7 days in advance. But NOAA scientists report that sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific may provide a month or more of advance warning of an elevated risk for tornado outbreaks.