La Niña: season over but may reopen next spring

The river breaks the bank in Menindee.PICTURE: SUPPLIED

Australia has neither El Niño nor La Niña at the moment.

When there is a La Niña, we get more rain in Broken Hill and when there is an El Niño we get less rain.

The country has just passed through two summers with La Niñas, the latest leading to floods on the east coast.

Broken Hill didn’t see much rain from the first La Niña but we have had above average rain this year with 318mm up to June when we normally average 127mm.

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) indicators, which predict La Niñas and El Niños, have eased further in the last two weeks according to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

Cloudiness along the equator, a sign of La Niña, continues but other indicators have all returned to average.

Above average winter–spring rainfall in Australia is likely because sea surface temperatures are warmer than average around much of the Australian coastline the BOM reports.

There is also an increased likelihood of a negative Indian Ocean Dipole forming, adding to rain in frontal systems and lows crossing Australia in winter and spring.

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Normally, in winter, water cools to the northwest of Australia and becomes warmer between India and Africa.

This a positive Indian Ocean Dipole.

A Negative Indian Dipole is when water temperatures remain warmer between the north of Western Australia and India.

Interesting fact: when Australia has increased rainfall from La Niña Southern Brazil and Argentina have decreased rainfall.

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