El Nino Certain says NCC


The NCC says all the signs of an El Nino are here – and Australians should brace for hot conditions over the summer months.

NCC spokesman Grant Beard says there is little chance of the current El Nino pattern dissipating.

"If the development doesn’t continue, if there’s a sudden turnaround in patterns across the Pacific, well then we would probably fall short of declaring this or recognising this – in hindsight – as an event," he said.

"But even if that did occur, the fact that we have high temperatures over the Pacific and low values of the SOI [Southern Oscillation Index], that means that the Australian climate, particularly the east of the country, is bias towards being warmer and drier than average for the rest of this year."

Mr Beard says it is still too early to give any accurate assessment of weather patterns over the summer months.

But he says it is likely that conditions in the nation’s south-east corner will be abnormally hot until the end of the year.

"Across Victoria we are looking at chances in excess of 80 per cent for exceeding the long-term average for that three-month period," he said.

"But El Nino events tend to breakdown, in terms of the climate patterns across Australia, sometime during summer.

"Although temperatures might remain above average, the rainfall patterns are less predictable."

‘Serious implications’

Australia’s last El Nino event was in 2002, with that year bringing unusually hot and dry conditions across most of the country.

He says that should another El Nino event materialise, it will have serious implications for Australia’s environment.

"We had a very severe drought that went from early 2002 into autumn 2003, but we haven’t really seen a strong break since that time," he said.

"The rainfall has returned to somewhere close to average, but we haven’t had a wide-spread above average rainfall year at all since that previous event."

"So with another event, such as the one we look like we’re in at the moment developing this year, it’s obviously going to have a fairly severe impact because, as we see in the news all the time, the water supplies are dwindling, or very low, and this is another thing to take into account."

But Mr Beard says the current El Nino weather pattern is not having as strong an impact as that of 2002.

"Obviously some areas are experiencing it very badly, mainly the south-east corner of the country and probably the south-west corner as well," he said.

"But for say, large parts of Queensland and northern New South Wales, it hasn’t been anywhere as near as severe as what occurred in 2002."

He says the current weather patterns could be linked to global climate change.

"We’re concerned with long-term trends over large areas," he said.

"So we’re looking at the kinds of changes in rainfall or temperature – say over Australia – over half a century to a century.

"That’s the kind of thing we’re doing with climate change."

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