The Outlook | El Nino appears imminent

El Nino appears imminent


Weather
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Based on past events, in about 60 to 70 per cent of El Nino events, rainfall in eastern Australia remains 20pc to 40pc below the long term average.

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A LIKELY El Nino is favoured to develop during spring.

This will be as a result of sea surface temperature (SSTs) anomalies in specific areas of the tropical eastern Pacific which define an El Nino.

However, it is also likely for the first time ever, the SSTs around the majority of continental Australia will remain a little up on the past 30 year normal.

As this has not occurred to this extent previously, there is uncertainty as to how it will effect rainfall patterns.

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Based on past events, in about 60 to 70 per cent of El Nino events, rainfall in eastern Australia remains 20pc to 40pc below the long term average.

There are currently no indications that it will be any different over the coming 6 months, but the warmth in the SSTs around Australia introduce a level of uncertainty.

Also, in a normal spring time El Nino the potential for brief but locally severe weather events increases slightly.

If this type of activity occurs with the SSTs up on normal, the potential for moisture availability is higher which would mean there is a possibility of one or two brief but significant events in the coming months bringing rain to local areas across parts of south-east Australia.

However, this rain would be unlikely to be general events and it is impossible to predict where they might occur until a few days before.

Current indications are that there is only about a 30pc chance of one or two brief rain events affecting any one particular area in spring/early summer.

In other words, a fair chance, but more than likely not to occur.

If such an event were to occur, then local rainfall in that month could approach normal.

Otherwise the chances are that dry weather and below average rainfall will persist for the rest of the year.

With a likely El Nino and above average SSTs there is greater confidence in the predictions of warmer than normal weather becoming established from early to mid spring across much of the state.

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