Threat of El Nino recedes

31 Jul, 2014 04:35 AM
If an El Niño were to occur, it is increasingly unlikely to be a strong event.

THE threat of an El Nino weather event is receding with atmospheric conditions over the Pacific largely failing to respond to warming ocean waters, the Bureau of Meteorology.

The chances of an El Nino, which typically bring warmer-than-average temperatures to Australia and south-east Asia and lower rainfall, are now about 50-50 for such an event forming in 2014, the bureau said.

The reduced El Nino prospects, down from 70 per cent in earlier forecasts by the bureau and other agencies such in the US, will be welcomed by farmers and others concerned about conditions favouring drier and warmer weather.

Still, at 50 per cent, such an event – marked by relatively warm waters in the equatorial central and eastern Pacific compared with western regions – cannot be ruled out.

“While the chance of an El Niño in 2014 has clearly eased, warmer-than-average waters persist in parts of the tropical Pacific, and the (slight) majority of climate models suggest El Niño remains likely for spring,” the bureau said.

“Hence the establishment of El Niño before year's end cannot be ruled out. If an El Niño were to occur, it is increasingly unlikely to be a strong event.”

In El Nino years, rainfall is typically lower-than-normal across southern and eastern inland parts of Australia while maximum temperatures tend to be warmer than usual.

Even without El Nino thresholds being crossed, those weather conditions can be present – as has been the case for much of the country so far this year.

Earlier this year, temperatures in the eastern Pacific climbed, prompting some climate experts to predict a strong El Nino could be possible.

However, after a burst of westerly winds – the reverse of the usual pattern along the equator – atmospheric conditions failed to reinforce the underlying ocean temperature differences.

“As a result, some cooling has now taken place in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean, with most of the key NINO regions returning to neutral values,” the bureau said.

Its ENSO track has now been cut to a “watch” status from “alert”.

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Pete Rothwell
31/07/2014 6:33:47 AM

This is seriously starting to become a joke.
31/07/2014 6:51:18 AM

Yes Pete, you wonder why we pay them at all. They really cant forecast anything until it happens. And they think they can tell us what is going to happen 50 or 100 years from now....??
31/07/2014 9:23:19 AM

It's about time the weather forecasters started to publish complete information about their so-called forecasts. A percentage chance is a meaningless statement without qualifying assumptions and weightings. It would be better not to publish such modelled rubbish rather than project misleading garbage that other professionals are expected to feed into their processes as a valid flag. The odds are better playing two up. My grandmother was more accurate in weather forecasting and she observed the ants.
Tom of the Upper Murray
31/07/2014 10:03:06 AM

The weather is not a clockwork machine fellas. Weather forecasting has always been based on probability and always will be. People who ask for 100% accuracy about forthcoming events are only kidding themselves and are foolish. If you're in the gambling game that is agriculture, you "should" know the saying of "expecting the best for your season and being prepared for the worst one".
Pete Rothwell
31/07/2014 1:33:20 PM

Who is foolish? The only people that are foolish are all the media reports we get about how we farmers are basically stupid because we don't use all the tools, like long range forecasts, that are available to us. I get so sick and tired of reading crap like that. They have no idea, what should I have done this year with them saying that in all likely hood they was going to be a strong el nino and prepare for it?? Prepare how exactly, not plant a crop?? well crop looks pretty bloody good here in my neck of the woods, what I shouldn't have done was plant one last year, that was a shocker.
Pete Rothwell
31/07/2014 1:38:01 PM

cont.... And guess what? you bet it, they were predicting a 70-80% of above median rainfall. How do you really base any meaningful decision on these forecasts? answer is, you cant. I understand that it is an incredibly hard thing to do, but it just really irritates me all these commentators telling us to plan ahead based on these forecasts.
31/07/2014 3:22:18 PM

Well I like a whinge as much as the next bloke but I remember the saying - a farmer should listen to advice but still makes his own decisions.
31/07/2014 3:44:52 PM

Pete R, and even with all the wisdom of hindsight, no-one has been able to explain why the last 2 Summers have failed - even though their figures looked OK.
No nino
31/07/2014 5:48:34 PM

I think thay need to spin the chocolate wheel again what a bunch of clowns
31/07/2014 7:06:24 PM

Spot on Pete. Last year for months from the end of summer they were predicting a 70-75% chance of above average rain. I bought more stock on the this prediction and ended up selling them for no profit. I would have maybe forgiven them if we had at least average rain but it was one of the lowest autumn / winter rainfalls on record! They weren't a little bit wrong - they were disastrously wrong. They have no idea and shouldn't be listened to. And as for that NZ bloke who looks at the moon - he is even worse.
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