Aussie Scientists: La Nina Strengthened, But Will Peak Soon

06:17AM Jan 04, 2012
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The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says despite some cooling (strengthening of the La Nina pattern) at the surface of the tropical Pacific, sea surface temperatures remain less extreme than at the same time in 2010-11. The Bureau says La Nina is near its peak and a gradual warming trend over the next few months should be seen.

"The majority of dynamical models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology suggest that the La Nina is near its peak, with only the NASA model predicting a later peak in February. Model consensus suggests that central Pacific Ocean temperatures will start to show a gradual warming trend over the next few months, returning to neutral values in the southern hemisphere autumn," it says.

The Bureau says La Nina periods are usually associated with above-normal rainfall during the second half of the year and summer across large parts of Australia, particularly the eastern and northern regions. "Daytime temperatures are typically cooler than average, while there is an increased tropical cyclone risk for northern Australia during the cyclone season (November to April), peaking in February and March. For the cyclone season so far, three tropical cyclones have occurred in the Australian region," it states.