The NINO3.4 index is one of several El Niņo/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators based on sea surface temperatures.
NINO3.4 is the average sea surface temperature anomaly in the region bounded by 5°N to 5°S, from 170°W to 120°W. This region has large variability on El Niņo time scales, and is close to the region where changes in local sea-surface temperature are important for shifting the large region of rainfall typically located in the far western Pacific.
An El Niņo or La Niņa event is identified if the 5-month running-average of the NINO3.4 index exceeds +0.4°C for El Niņo or -0.4°C for La Niņa for at least 6 consecutive months.
Rainfall totals are the lowest on record over the past year for parts of western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia, weather forecasters are warning.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce 'takes on board' concern that farmers are struggling to access drought loans
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has indicated he might be prepared to consider changes to improve the Federal Government's concessional loans scheme for drought-hit farmers.
Labor, Greens slam Agriculture White Paper for lack of strategic vision or climate change consideration
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says his government "wants to back people who are prepared to back themselves", and that a newly released vision for Australian agriculture will do just that.