Weather News

El Nino tipped to form in spring

By Will Ockenden, Wednesday June 13, 2012 - 12:56 EST

Australia looks set to experience the same weather conditions this year that were responsible for the nation's last devastating drought in the summer of 2009.

The weather bureau says all of its models are pointing to an El Nino weather system forming in October.

Typically, El Nino weather events mean drier conditions across Australia, and despite the plentiful rain along the east coast over the past week, there are still large areas of the country that still have below-average rainfall.

Earlier this year, leading to wetter weather.

El Nino occurs when the central and eastern Pacific warms up, causing major shifts in weather patterns.

Karl Braganza, the manager of climate modelling at the Bureau of Meteorology, says it is too early to tell how severely the nation will be affected.

He also says it would be difficult to predict whether El Nino will bring upon a drought.

"That would be very difficult to say. Certainly if the El Nino gets locked in, you'd expect drier conditions over Australia this coming summer," he said.

"Most of those models are saying probably neutral to El Nino conditions over the next few months but then out into spring a lot of the models are going for an El Nino event.

"The drying over the south-west and the south-east has been occurring for a lot longer and it's not necessarily related to El Nino events."

Victoria Department of Primary Industries climate specialist Graeme Anderson says it is too early to predict what the effects will be for farmers.

"It is a bit like footy tipping and at the moment I think if most of the models are tending towards an El Nino then that's just like with a footy tipping side," he said.

"If most are barracking or tipping one particular side it's going to win. But as we know, it doesn't always guarantee that result. And certainly what we've seen with farmers when we deal within certain Victorian districts that El Nino can mean, historically has meant drier springs.

"But there's also been the seasons where, while we've had an El Nino, a couple of good individual rain bearing systems have come in and delivered a good spring.

"So it doesn't guarantee a dry spring but it does set up the odds for drier than average conditions."


© ABC 2012

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