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Do ya got your El Niño on?

  • 03 June 2009
  • Written by 
  • Published in Climate
According to the National Climate Centre in Australia, there is a greater chance than normal of an El Niño event in 2009. The meteorologists there predict the odds of an El Niño are well above 50%, which is over double the normal percentage.


The National Climate Center, part of the Bureau of Meteorology, is issuing its latest ENSO, or El Niño-Southern Oscillation, report on Wednesday, June 3, 2009.

The NCC, headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, is the service division of the Bureau of Meteorology. It is responsible for providing climate data services and climate monitoring services, along with the archiving of Australia’s climate records.

The Australian website eFarming.com states in its article “An increased risk of El Niño in 2009” that patterns in the Pacific Ocean are forming that, if continued further into the year, could establish an El Nino by mid-winter in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dr. David Jones, Head of Climate Analysis at the Bureau’s National Climate Centre, pointed out that: “This view is supported by several computer forecasts of El Niño, which have firmed in their predictions of an event in 2009.” [eFarming]

The eFarming article continues to say, “The surface of the equatorial Pacific currently stands at around 0.5°C warmer than normal, while the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) dropped from +9 in April to −5 in May. During a typical El Niño event, central equatorial Pacific Ocean temperatures are at least 0.8°C warmer than normal for around four to six months during which time the SOI persists at values –7 or lower. The Pacific easterly Trade Winds were also suppressed in May.”

You can look for updates for this potential El Nino condition at the Bureau’s website: www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso.

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So, despite recent rains in many part of Australia lately, if this prediction comes true, Australia could be looking at further droughts in 2010, which could negate recent recoveries of its drought conditions.

Recent El Niño events in 2002 and 2006 caused much less than normal precipitation in Australia, with resulting severe and widespread drought conditions.

The NCC meteorologists also state that current trends may not continue, which could cause the El Nino event not to occur later in 2009.

Dr. Jones states, "However, it's still possible that the recent trends may stall without El Niño thresholds being reached."

He adds, "Such an outcome, however, may still bias the outlook towards drier than average conditions, especially if the SOI remains negative." [The Land: “El Niño back to spoil recovery”]

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