Odds for El Nino in late 2014 increasing: WeatherZone

Beef Central, 11/03/2014

The odds of an El Nino developing later this year are increasing, according to Australian online weather information service WeatherZone. 

As most people who's businesses rely upon agriculture well know, El Nino patterns are associated with below average rainfall, mainly across the northern and eastern parts of Australia. Due to the lack of cloud cover, El Nino years also tend to bring above average temperatures as the sun has plenty of time to heat the surface.

El Nino (the warm phase of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomena) occurs when warmer than average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) prevail over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean (from late winter to late autumn), accompanied by high atmospheric pressure over the western Pacific.

This high atmospheric pressure typically leads to lower than average rainfall over Australia during El Nino years.

La Nina (cool phase) on the other hand, occurs when cooler than average SSTs prevail over the central and eastern equatorial Pacific. This is accompanied by a low atmospheric pressure over the western Pacific, thus typically bringing above average rainfall to mainland Australia during La Nina years.

Two back-to-back La Ninas, brought Australia's wettest two year period on record (2010-2011) leading to unprecedented flooding across the eastern states. The last strongest classical El Nino occurred in 2002-2003 with 2009-2010 being a weak El Nino.

WeatherZone says the past few months have seen a noticeable warming of the eastern and central Pacific with increasing odds towards an El Nino developing later this year. 

This comes after Australia's hottest year in 2013, a year in which many hot records were broken, which occured during an ENSO-neutral year. 


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