Tropical Pacific Ocean remains on track for El Niño in 2014
BOM, 3 June 2014
Issued on Tuesday 3 June 2014 | Product Code IDCKGEWWOO
The tropical Pacific Ocean remains on track for El Niño in 2014, with just over half of the climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggesting El Niño will become established by August. An El Niño ALERT remains in place, indicating at least a 70% chance of an El Niño developing in 2014.
Sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies in the tropical Pacific Ocean have increased steadily since February, and are now greater than +0.5 °C in the key NINO regions. However, above-average SSTs also extend into the western tropical Pacific, meaning strong west to east gradients in tropical Pacific SST anomalies are yet to become established. As a result, atmospheric indicators—such as the Southern Oscillation Index and trade winds—have only shown a weak response.
For Australia, El Niño is often associated with below-average rainfall over southern and eastern inland areas and above-normal daytime temperatures over southern parts of the continent. It is not uncommon to see some impacts prior to an event becoming fully established. May rainfall was below normal across parts of eastern Australia and maximum temperatures were above normal across much of the south and east.
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral. Model outlooks suggest the IOD is most likely to remain neutral through winter, with two of the five models surveyed suggesting a positive IOD may develop during spring. Positive IOD events often coincide with El Niño and are typically associated with large parts of southern and central Australia experiencing lower rainfall than usual.