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Indian Ocean temperature patterns continue as key Australian climate influence

enso neutral

MELBOURNE, Australia – The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is neutral, but sea surface temperature patterns in the Indian Ocean are likely to remain the key influence on Australia’s climate for the coming months, reports Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology in its Enso Wrap-Up.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) index rose back above the positive IOD threshold this week. While the index has fluctuated around the positive IOD threshold, the broader Indian Ocean sea surface temperature, cloud and wind patterns have been consistent with a positive IOD since late May.

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Climate models forecast positive IOD conditions for the remainder of the southern hemisphere winter and spring. Typically, a positive IOD brings below average winter–spring rainfall to southern and central Australia, and above average daytime temperatures for the southern two-thirds of Australia.

In the tropical Pacific, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral—neither El Niño nor La Niña. Most atmospheric and oceanic indicators of ENSO are close to average, resulting in normal tropical Pacific cloud patterns and rainfall.

All climate models indicate the tropical Pacific is likely to remain ENSO-neutral for the rest of 2019, meaning other climate drivers are likely to continue to be the main influences on Australian and global weather.