OVER the past few weeks, atmospheric climate indicators such as the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), trade winds and tropical cloud patterns in the Pacific have continued to persist at near neutral values.
This is consistent with sea surface temperatures throughout the key equatorial regions of the eastern Pacific, cooling from near El Nino values to near average values.
Also of interest is the pool of below-average temperature water (two degrees cooler than usual) that has developed in the eastern Pacific along the equator.
For there to be a heightened risk of a strong El Nino event developing, it would be reasonable to expect water temperatures throughout this zone to be warmer than normal.
The international climate models surveyed by the bureau indicate a neutral climate pattern is likely to remain for the remainder of spring and summer.
Of the seven models reviewed, six indicate the continuation of a neutral climate pattern through to the end of April 2013, while one indicates a borderline neutral/El Nino event.
For more information, try the ENSO Wrap-up produced by the Bureau of Meteorology twice a month.
It is available at bom.gov.au/climate/enso.
The United States Climate Prediction Centre also produces reports of the likelihood of El Nino and La Nina's developing.
For their view and an update on the ongoing drought conditions across much of the USA, try www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov
Interestingly, despite the heavy rainfall and flooding associated with the Hurricane Sandy, about 54% of the USA remains classified as being in moderate drought or worse.
While drought eased in the eastern states, the drought expanded in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas.
Another climate driver that can impact on the central and eastern Australian climate at this time of year is the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD).
Values of the IOD index have been positive over the past couple of months.
Positive IOD values during May to November are associated with decreased rainfall over parts of southern and central Australia (including much of western, central and southern Queensland).
IOD values have now returned to neutral and are expected to remain in neutral values for the rest of spring and summer.
The SOI has remained relatively stable since the start of the month.
As of November 13 the 30-day average of the SOI was plus 2.1.
For more information, see longpaddock.qld.gov.au.
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