By Colin Packham
SYDNEY, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Climate models suggest El Nino weather conditions will occur over the next three months, although related weather patterns are already being witnessed, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said on Tuesday.
Climate indicators are close to El Nino thresholds, the BOM said, with models indicating a 70 percent chance of an event arriving by February.
El Nino is a warming of Pacific sea-surface temperatures that occurs every four to 12 years. It can trigger drought in some parts of the world while causing flooding in others.
The BOM said temperatures in the Pacific have already exceeded the El Nino threshold but the Southern Oscillation Index has yet to breach that level yet. The Southern Oscillation Index is a measure of Pacific air pressure fluctuations.
“Some El Nino-like impacts have already been seen this spring in Australia and several regions around the globe, including Asia, South America and southern Africa,” the BOM said. “The Bureau’s December-February Climate Outlook shows a drier and warmer summer is likely for many parts of Australia.”
The dry weather is impacting Australia’s agricultural production, with output in key commodities such as wheat set to fall as dry weather curbs yields.
Nearly all of the Australian east coast and South Australia received less than half the average amounts of rainfall over the last three months, denying crops much needed moisture.