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.
One of Australia's most renowned pipe and drum bands will end an ambitious tour this weekend with a renewed understanding of how rural Queenslanders are dealing with drought.
Arid parts of Western Australia received a drenching overnight as thunderstorms passed overhead, with Meekatharra receiving more rain in ten minutes than they usually see in the whole month of November.
Fresh haystacks are exploding into flames across Victoria and South Australia and experts are warning it could be the start of a disastrous season.