THE 2015 El Niño continues to strengthen and appears set to persist into early 2016.
That's according to the Bureau of Meteorology's (BoM) latest ENSO wrap-up released this week.
It reports that in the coming weeks, the central tropical Pacific Ocean (the NINO3.4 region) may exceed the peak values reached during the 2002 and 2009 El Niño events, but current anomalies remain well short of the 1982 and 1997 peaks.
It comes on top of a mixed seasonal outlook for August to October, released last week by the BoM.
The outlook is for a drier-than-average three months over southern parts of southeast Australia, the Top End of the NT and the northern Cape York Peninsula in Queensland.
Conversely, there is an increased chance of a wetter three months over central and southern WA, as well as adjacent areas over the WA border. Most of eastern Australia has a roughly equal chance of a wetter or drier August to October.
The latest ENSO report states trade winds remain weakened and are likely to contribute to more warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean.
Other indicators such as cloudiness near the Date Line, the Southern Oscillation Index, and sub-surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean remain typical of an established El Niño.
International climate models surveyed by the BoM all indicate that El Niño will continue to strengthen, and persist into early 2016. Typically, El Niño peaks during the late austral spring or early summer, and weakens in the following year.
El Niño is usually associated with below-average winter–spring rainfall over eastern Australia and above-average daytime temperatures over the southern half of the country.
El Niño is not the only influence on rainfall and temperature; other factors, such as sea surface temperatures to the north of Australia and in the Indian Ocean, also affect Australia’s climate.
The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) remains neutral.
A positive IOD event remains possible, with three of the five international models indicating a positive IOD is likely during late winter to spring. A positive IOD is typically associated with reduced winter and spring rainfall over parts of southern and central Australia.