RECENT observations and climate model outlooks from the Bureau of Meteorology suggest the immediate risk of El Niño has passed.
The Bureau’s ENSO Outlook has therefore moved to El Niño WATCH, meaning there is approximately a 50 per cent chance of El Niño developing during the southern hemisphere autumn or winter.
Tropical Pacific sea surface and sub-surface temperatures remain warmer than average, but since late 2018 they have cooled from El Niño-like values towards ENSO-neutral values.
Atmospheric indicators such as cloudiness, trade winds and the Southern Oscillation Index all continue to generally remain within the ENSO-neutral range.
While most climate models indicate ENSO-neutral conditions for the immediate future, the current ocean warmth and likelihood of ongoing warmer than average conditions mean the risk of El Niño remains. Three of eight models suggest that El Niño may establish by mid-2019.
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is neutral. The IOD typically has little influence on Australian climate from December to April.