El Nino should be near its peak

El Niño should be near its peak

Based on past experience, scientists predict that the 2015–2016 El Niño may have probably reached its peak. Warmer-than-average waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean should start to cool off and shift westward.
By May/June, the tropical Pacific might be back in a neutral state or La Niña cooling could kick in, as it did after major El Niños of the past, especially in 1998 and 1983. But will the ocean respond in 2016 the way it did in 1998 and 1983, given that the planet was hotter than any time in the past 135 years?
In parts of tropical Pacific Ocean, water temperatures broke a record in December 2015. Sea surface temperatures averaged 2.38° Celsius above the norm, surpassing December 1997, which was 2.24°C above normal.

The maps below show conditions in the middle of each of the past 13 months as El Niño has developed.

The measurements come from satellite altimeter showing averaged sea surface height anomalies. Shades of red indicate where the ocean stood higher than the normal sea level; warmer water expands to fill more volume. Shades of blue show where sea level and temperatures were lower than average (water contraction). Normal sea-level conditions appear in white. (NASA, January 2016)