El Nino Likely in 2014, Say Aussie Scientists

By: Julianne Johnston

May  06,  2014

The tropical Pacific Ocean has continued to warm in recent months, causing the Australian Bureau of Meteorology to expect El Nino to develop in 2014. It says climate models it monitors signal El Nino could form as early as July.

elnonoalertmay62014.png"These factors indicate that while El Nino in 2014 cannot be guaranteed, the likelihood of an event developing remains at least 70% and we are at El Nino ALERT level," it states. "For El Nino to be established and maintained, coupling needs to occur between the tropical Pacific atmosphere and ocean, evident by further and persistent weakening of the trade winds and a consistent increase in cloudiness near the Date Line. These atmospheric characteristics of El Nino are forecast to become evident over the coming months."

The bureau's ENSO tracker status is at El Nino ALERT level, meaning that there is at least a 70% chance of an El Nino occurring in 2014. "El Niño conditions generally result in below-average winter/spring rainfall over southern and inland eastern Australia, while southern Australia typically experiences warmer days," it states.

El Nino during the Northern Hemisphere growing season raises the odds of trendline to above-trendline yields in the Midwest.