Southern Oscillation Index
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is calculated from the monthly or seasonal fluctuations in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin.
A strongly and consistently positive SOI pattern (e.g. consistently above about +6 over a two month period) is related to a high probability of above the long-term average (median) rainfall for many areas of Australia, especially areas of eastern Australia (including northern Tasmania) - La Niņa.
Conversely, a 'deep' and consistently negative SOI pattern (less than about minus 6 over a two month period, with little change over that period) is related to a high probability of below median rainfall for many areas of Australia at certain times of the year - El Niņo.
However, it is important to remember that the pattern of relationship between SOI and rainfall (and temperature) can vary depending on the particular season and region. Additionally, the change in SOI over a specified period can be as important in understanding relationships between SOI and rainfall as is the absolute value in SOI.
Western Australia's west is currently enduring one of its worst heatwaves in years, with records likely to tumble in some areas.
There are calls for the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) to shut its capital city forecasting offices and move its resources to the country.
Perth hit a scorching 40.4 degrees Celsius on day one of a heatwave that is expected to last for at least five days.