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Positive Indian Ocean Dipole weakens slightly, Enso remains neutral

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MELBOURNE, Australia – The tropical Pacific Ocean remains neutral with respect to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), while the strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) continues, reports the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) in its latest wrap-up.

Despite some weakening over the past fortnight due to a transient Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) event, Indian Ocean Dipole values remain strongly positive. Significantly warmer than average waters remain near the Horn of Africa, and cooler than average waters persist in the eastern Indian Ocean, south of Indonesia.

International climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate the positive IOD is so strong that it is likely to be slow to decline and could persist into mid-summer.

Typically, a positive IOD brings below average spring rainfall to southern and central Australia with warmer days for the southern two-thirds of the country. Positive IOD events are often associated with a more severe fire season for southeast Australia.

In the tropical Pacific Ocean, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral. While surface waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean are slightly warmer than average, atmospheric indicators are generally neutral.

Most climate models forecast ENSO-neutral conditions for the rest of 2019 and into the first quarter of 2020. When ENSO is neutral, it has little effect on Australian and global climate, meaning other influences are more likely to dominate.