The Australian Bureau of Meteorology says tropical Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures (SSTs) remain at values close to El Niño thresholds. However, other ENSO indicators such as the trade winds and tropical cloud patterns show patterns more typical of neutral conditions and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is also presently within neutral values.
"Regardless of whether El Niño thresholds are reached, the tropical Pacific remains warmer than average. This, combined with other influences on Australian climate such as cooler-than-normal waters to the north of the Australian continent and the patterns of cloud and ocean temperatures in the Indian Ocean, tends to favor below-average spring rainfall over much of Australia," it states.
Climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology suggest sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean will maintain values close to El Niño thresholds before returning to more neutral values towards the end of 2012 or early 2013 -- signaling a short El Nino event lies ahead.