El Nino remains a chance

Ben Domensino, 11 September 2018

There is still a 50 per cent chance that El Nino will occur later this year, according to the latest outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on Tuesday.

The Pacific Ocean is currently in a neutral phase, meaning neither El Nino or La Nina are occurring. However, both sea surface temperatures and atmospheric indicators across the equatorial Pacific Ocean are leaning towards El Nino thresholds.

This trend is expected to continue in the months ahead. Seven of the eight international computer models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology predict that warming will continue in the equatorial Pacific Ocean during spring. There is fairly good consensus between these models that El Nino thresholds could be exceeded by late spring or early summer.

El Nino typically means drier than usual weather for large parts of northern and eastern Australia during winter and spring, although its correlation with rainfall tends to deteriorate in summer. It's worth noting that should an El Nino develop, it will be forming later than usual and there are indications that it could also be a weak event.

El Nino and La Nina are not guarantees of more or less rainfall, although they do tend to lean the odds towards drier and wetter conditions, respectively.

Visit for the latest El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) wrap up from the Bureau of Meteorology.