El Nino forecast to last until early 2016

OREANDA-NEWS. This year's El Nino weather phenomenon is expected to persist until early 2016 and influence warmer than average temperatures across most of Australia between October and December, Australia's Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said.

The tropical Pacific Ocean and atmosphere are reinforcing each other, maintaining a strong El Nino that is likely to persist into early 2016. Tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures are more than 2°C above average, exceeding El Nino thresholds by well over 1°C, and at levels not seen since the 1997–98 event, the BoM said in its latest update. The 1997-98 El Nino was followed by the hottest year in the 20th century during 1998.

Most international climate models surveyed by the BoM indicate El Nino is likely to peak towards the end of 2015. The Indian Ocean, in which Western Australia's (WA) coastline borders, which was at its warmest level since 2006.

The latest El Nino outlook follows a separate outlook on Australia's temperature and rainfall outlook for October-December. Average daytime temperatures for the period are likely to be warmer than average for all parts of Australia with the exception of northern WA and the central Northern Territory, BoM said.

This year's El Nino was first declared in May. It is earlier than usual, as the phenomenon is not normally declared until at least mid-year. El Nino is a warming of the Pacific Ocean surface that occurs naturally every few years. It can trigger droughts and floods in most countries along the Pacific coastline, but its impact can be felt in the Indian Ocean and as far away as east Africa.