Aussie Scientists See Increased Chances of El Nino Forming

March 11, 2014 04:42 AM



The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says ENSO neutral conditions continued the last two weeks, but international climate models indicate the tropical Pacific Ocean is likely to warm in the coming months, with most models showing temps approaching or exceeding El Nino thresholds by the Southern Hemisphere winter (summer in the Northern Hemisphere).

The bureau says all the climate models it surveys reflect ENSO-neutral continuing through the Southern Hemisphere fall (spring in the Northern Hemisphere), but all models suggest warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean will occur, with some (but not all) models approaching or exceeding El Nino thresholds by July and La Nina appears unlikely.

"It should be noted that model outlooks which span (Southern Hemisphere) autumn tend to have lower skill than outlooks issued at other times of the year, therefore more or less warming than indicated remains possible. Key indicators of ENSO will continue to be monitored closely for any significant changes," says the Bureau, with reminds that El Nino is often, but not always, associated with below-normal rainfall during the second half of the year across large parts of southern and inland eastern Australia. Daytime temperatures also tend to be above-normal over southern Australia.

El Nino is also associated with improved chances of above-trendline corn yields in the U.S. Midwest.

Meteorologist Gail Martell of recently told us that while strong warming has occurred in the western equatorial Pacific, the eastern equatorial ocean is still cooler than normal. "When you look at the daily sea surface temperature anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region, the area where ENSO conditions are most closely monitored, ocean temperatures have maintained below normal. There have been ups and downs, but (it has remained) below-average since December 1."


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