The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says La Nina remains in place across the tropical Pacific, though the majority of climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest it may be near its peak. While the event is likely to persist through February, a gradual decline in the strength of the La Nina is expected over the coming months.
"Climate indicators of ENSO continue to exceed La Nina thresholds, but remain weaker than at the same time in 2010. Despite some local warming over the past fortnight, tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures remain cooler-than-normal. Atmospheric indicators of La Nina strengthened over the last fortnight – for example, the current 30-day SOI value of +21 is the highest since the breakdown of the 2010-11 event in May 2011."
The Bureau says Australia’s climate has responded to these changes in the tropical Pacific, with above-normal rainfall across large parts of the country since October. "La Nina periods are usually, but not always, associated with above-normal rainfall during the second half of the year and summer (Dec.-Feb.) across large parts of Australia, particularly the eastern and northern regions. Daytime temperatures are typically cooler than average and tropical cyclone risk for northern Australia increases during the cyclone season (November to April), with February and March the peak," it says.