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The BoM says El Niño conditions will likely persist through to May

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Hot and dry conditions from an El Niño weather event are likely to continue into May next year, according to the BoM.
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Hot and dry conditions from an El Niño weather event are likely to continue into May next year.

New data from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) shows warm temperatures and below-average rainfall will intensify in January and persist through to May.

The BoM officially declared El Niño was underway in September. It comes after three consecutive La Niña summers in Australia.

What is El Niño?

El Niño is a weather event characterised by unusually warm waters in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean. In Australia, it causes higher temperatures and can lead to droughts.

Unlike increased rain caused by La Niña, the most direct consequence of El Niño is less rainfall.

It also causes more individual days of extreme heat.

BoM Update

In its updated forecast, the BoM said the current El Niño in the Pacific could persist into the southern hemisphere’s autumn months (March to May).

According to its long-range forecast, rainfall is likely to be below average across much of the country from December to February, with warmer days and nights “very likely almost nationwide.”

The BoM said the “positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event” was currently “tracking at strong levels”.

IOD refers to the difference in sea surface temperatures between two areas, or poles. A ‘positive’ event means warmer sea temperatures in the western Indian Ocean, less cloud cover in Australia’s northwest, and less rainfall in the country’s south and far north.

A positive IOD event and El Niño happening at the same time increases drought conditions in Australia’s southeast.

Why?

The BoM attributed climate fluctuations in Australia and around the world to the continued “influence” of global warming.

“Global sea surface temperatures were highest on record for their respective months during April to October.”

 

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