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National Weather Service - Drought Information Statement (6 Jan 2022)

Marshall Islands
Govt. Marshall Islands
Publication date
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Nearly 15 inches of rain was measured on Kapingamarangi during the month of December. This filled water catchments and allowed vegetation to recover from inadequate rain the last few months. The large-scale pattern should favor continued surface troughing near the equator, allowing conditions to continue to improve for Kapingamarangi.

Although La Nina continues based on large-scale oceanic and atmospheric conditions, changes are afoot. A series of westerly wind bursts (WWBs) pulsed across the west Pacific basin during much of Dec 2021. This anomalous westerly flow along the equator triggered a downwelling oceanic kelvin wave as evidenced by the latest Tropical Atmosphere Ocean (TAO) array subsurface temperature charts. The downwelling oceanic kelvin wave will propagate eastward across the Pacific the next few months, chewing into the La Nina cold tongue signature near and east of the dateline. ENSO neutral is expected to establish the next several months. The outlook for late in the year is rather uncertain as we enter the spring predictability barrier the next few months. ENSO neutral is a safe bet for fall/winter 2022 but additional stalling events of the Madden Julian Oscillation in the west /central Pacific *could* push things to the warm side of ENSO neutral or El Nino late in the year.

The trend from La Nina to ENSO neutral the next few months should limit the severity of the classic dry season months (Jan/Feb/Mar/Apr). This is also supported by seasonal climate models. Nevertheless, rainfall is typically inadequate for the northern Marshalls the next few months.

The northern Marshall Islands will be closely monitored by WFO Guam,
WSO Majuro and the USDM USAPI team.


*D1 Moderate drought* -- Kapingamarangi in Pohnpei State Water tank levels have reached adequate levels and vegetation/crops continue to improve.

*D1 Moderate drought* -- Northern Marshall Island of Wotje and the atolls near and north

For the latest drought map for the US Affiliated Pacific Islands visit