Climate indicators continue to show a shift towards El Niño, in line with most model predictions, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest ENSO wrap released this morning.
The bureau says eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures have continued to warm over the past fortnight, while trade winds have remained weaker than normal.
Likewise, the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has become more strongly negative over the past month.
“Tropical Pacific Ocean observations are consistent with previous and current climate model forecasts, which have indicated that the tropical Pacific may approach or exceed El Niño thresholds sometime between mid-winter and spring 2012,” the latest report states.
During El Niño events, large parts of eastern Australia are typically drier than normal during winter and spring, while southern Australian daytime temperatures tend to be warmer.
However, El Niño does not guarantee widespread dry conditions.
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral.
The Bureau points out that about half of the outlooks from POAMA, the Bureau’s climate model, indicate the possibility of a weak positive IOD event developing during winter or spring.
Should a positive IOD event eventuate with an El Niño event, this increases the likelihood of dry conditions over southern Australia.