Reduced chance of El Niño

Grain Central, May 12, 2017

MODELLING by the Bureau of Meteorology is showing a reduced likelihood of an El Nino weather pattern developing for 2017 with the tropical Pacific currently showing a neutral El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).

But despite the likelihood for El Niño easing in some models, the Bureau says an event in 2017 cannot be ruled out.

El Niño is often, but not always, associated with a drier than average winter-spring over eastern Australia.

Of the 27 El Niño events since 1900, 18 have resulted in at least some areas of significantly dry conditions for Australia.

The Bureau’s ENSO Outlook remains at El Niño WATCH, meaning there is around a 50 per cent chance that El Niño may develop in the coming months.

Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean have warmed since the start of the year, but remain below El Niño thresholds.

Some atmospheric indicators have shifted over the past fortnight, but also remain below El Niño levels.

Some international climate models have reduced the likelihood of El Niño this year.

However, five of eight models still indicate the tropical Pacific Ocean may exceed El Niño thresholds during the second half of 2017.

It should be noted that models have lower accuracy forecasting El Niño through the autumn months.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) remains neutral.

Four out of six climate models suggest a positive IOD is likely to develop during winter.

Generally, when a positive IOD coincides with El Niño, the pattern of below average rainfall extends further west than it typically would under El Niño alone.

Source: Bureau of Meteorology


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