AFTER key climate drivers saw us flirting with an El Niño event conducive to drier than average conditions in Australia in autumn, latest climate forecasts have virtually ruled out that happening this year.
In the latest Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) report, it found the ENSO was firmly in the neutral range, and suggested it was likely to stay at these levels until at least late in the year.
And in heartening news for growers, cooling sea surface temperatures (SSTs) have been reported in recent weeks.
Cool SSTs are a driver of La Niña events, normally associated with wetter years in Australia.
While firmly in neutral territory still, it is a further sign an El Niño is highly unlikely to develop this year and even gives a tiny chance of a weak La Niña developing.
The BOM forecasts the IOD, which is a major driver on weather in particular through SA, western NSW and north-western Victoria in the spring, will remain neutral for the year.
However, two of the six climate models surveyed suggest a positive IOD may develop during spring.
This is conducive with lower than average rainfall.