El Niño WATCH activated; 50% chance of El Niño in spring 2018
The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently neutral, however, recent model forecasts and observations show an increased likelihood of El Niño this spring. The Bureau's ENSO Outlook status has moved to El Niño WATCH. El Niño WATCH means that the chances of El Niño forming in 2018 is approximately 50%.
Sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean have been slowly warming since April. Waters beneath the surface of the tropical Pacific are now warmer than average—a common precursor to El Niño. Five of the eight international climate models surveyed by the Bureau predict that ocean temperatures are likely to reach El Niño thresholds in spring, while a sixth model falls just short. El Niño during spring often means below average rainfall for Victoria, while a neutral ENSO phase (neither El Niño nor La Niña) has little effect on rainfall.
See the ENSO Wrap-Up for more details.