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.
Hunter graziers, buoyed by high cattle prices, are beginning to address a backlog of farm work that has built up during tough times.
The owner of a quarry which allegedly contributed to the fatal 2011 Grantham flood says a safety bund appeared to be man made and may have been built without his knowledge.
Chilly weather will quickly turn to very warm and windy conditions this weekend over many parts of Australia's interior this weekend.