ENSO Outlook increases as tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures warm

The Bureau of Meterology has increased its ENSO Outlook to El Niño ALERT, meaning the chance of an El Niño forming this year is now around 70 per cent, three times the normal likelihood.

In recent weeks, sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean have warmed to near El Niño thresholds, and a number of international climate models, have suggested the warming will continue as winter approaches.

There are also signs the atmosphere has responded to the warmer Pacific Ocean temperatures, and if this persists, weather patterns in Australia and around the globe may change.

El Niño typically brings drier than average conditions for eastern Australia during winter–spring, and warmer days across southern Australia. During the autumn months, the influence of El Niño tends to be weaker, but can bring drier conditions to southern Australia.

Current outlooks suggest the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is likely to remain neutral for the remainder of autumn but indicate a positive IOD may form later in winter. A positive IOD typically means drier than average conditions for southern and central Australia during winter-spring.