Warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean over the past several months primed the climate system for an El Niño in 2014. However, a general lack of atmospheric response over the last month has resulted in some cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean.
While the majority of climate models suggest El Niño remains likely for the spring of 2014, most have eased their predicted strength. If an El Niño were to occur, it is increasingly unlikely to be a strong event.
Changes are also occurring in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) index has been below −0.4 °C (the negative IOD threshold) since mid-June, but it would need to remain negative into August to be considered as an event. Negative values are rare when the central Pacific is warmer than average. Model outlooks suggest the IOD is likely to return to neutral by spring. Conditions in the Indian Ocean may have contributed to the above-average rainfall experienced in southeast Australia during June.
El Niño is often associated with below-average rainfall over southern and eastern inland areas of Australia and above-average daytime temperatures over southern Australia. Conversely, a negative IOD pattern typically brings wetter winter and spring conditions to inland and southern Australia.
The ENSO Tracker is updated at the end of each month. It is currently at El Niño ALERT stage.
Next update expected on 29 July 2014 |