Climate Driver Update archive
Climate drivers in the Pacific, Indian and Southern oceans and the Tropics


Average of international model outlooks for NINO3.4

Average of international model outlooks for IOD


Sea surface temperature maps

Sea surface temperature maps are not available for forecasts before Spring 2018

Global sea surface temperature outlooks for the months and season ahead. Anomalies indicate the difference from normal.

Sea surface temperature maps (select map for larger view)

SST outlooks for the next 3 months

Pacific Ocean

ENSO is the oscillation between El Niño and La Niña states in the Pacific region. El Niños typically produce drier seasons, and La Niñas drive wetter years, but the influence of each event varies, particularly in conjunction with other climate influences.

NINO3.4 SST plumes from Bureau model forecasts, updated daily
Select to see full-size map of NINIO3.4 SST plumes from Bureau model forecasts, updated daily.

International climate model outlooks

Nino 3.4 2 month outlook
Graph details

The graphs are based on the ensemble mean for the most recent model run.

These graphs show the average forecast value of NINO3.4 for each international model surveyed for the selected calendar month. If the bars on the graph are approaching or exceeding the blue dashed line, there is an increased risk of La Niña. Similarly, if the bars on the graph are approaching or exceeding the red dashed line, there is an increased chance of El Niño.

Weekly sea surface temperatures

Graphs of the table values

Monthly sea surface temperatures

Graphs of the table values

5-day sub-surface temperatures

Monthly temperatures

Southern Oscillation Index

30-day SOI values for the past two years
Select to see full-size map of 30-day Southern Oscillation Index values for the past two years, updated daily.

Trade winds

5-day SST and wind anomaly from TAO/TRITON
Select to see full-size map of 5-day SST and wind anomaly from TAO/TRITON.

Cloudiness near the Date Line

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) compares sea surface temperatures. An IOD negative state, having warmer than average sea surface temperatures near Australia, provides more moisture for frontal systems and lows crossing Australia.

IOD SST plumes from Bureau model forecasts, updated daily
Select to see full-size map of IOD SST plumes from Bureau model forecasts, updated daily.

International models

Latest IOD outlook
Graph details

The graphs are based on the ensemble mean for the most recent model run.

Thse graphs show the average forecast value of the IOD index for each international model surveyed for the selected calendar month. If the majority of models are approaching or exceeding the blue dashed line, then there is an increased risk of a negative IOD event. If the majority of models are approaching or exceeding the red dashed line, then there is an increased risk of a positive IOD event.

The Southern Annular Mode, or SAM, refers to the north-south shift of rain-bearing westerly winds and weather systems in the Southern Ocean compared to the usual position.

The Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) is the major fluctuation in tropical weather on weekly to monthly timescales. It can be characterised as an eastward moving 'pulse' of cloud and rainfall near the equator that typically recurs every 30 to 60 days.

SSTs for May 2022 show cool SST anomalies across the central to eastern equatorial Pacific (eastwards of about 165 °E) and along the coastline of South America, and warm SST anomalies over parts of the Maritime Continent. Compared to March, cool anomalies in the central to eastern tropical Pacific have strengthened, while in the west SST anomalies are closer to average than they were during March.

Values of the three key NINO indices for May 2022 were: NINO3 −0.6 °C, NINO3.4 −0.7 °C, and NINO4 −0.6 °C.

Sea surface temperatures (SST) in the tropical Pacific Ocean for the week ending 5 June 2022 were cooler than average along and south of the equator over most of the central and eastern Pacific, extending along the coastline of South America. Warm SST anomalies continue over the southern Maritime Continent and around much of Australia. Compared to two weeks ago, cool anomalies in the western tropical Pacific Ocean have weakened, while warm anomalies around northern Australia have strengthened.

The latest values of the three NINO indices for the week ending 5 June 2022 were: NINO3 −0.5 °C, NINO3.4 −0.5 °C, and NINO4 −0.3 °C.

Persistent NINO3 or NINO3.4 values cooler than −0.8 °C are typical of La Niña, while persistent values warmer than +0.8 °C typically indicate El Niño.

The 30-day Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) for the 30 days ending 5 June 2022 was +18.6. The 90-day SOI value was +17.4.

The 30-day SOI remains firmly at La Niña levels despite dropping several points compared to the middle of May. The 90-day value also continues to be typical of La Niña.

Sustained positive values of the SOI above +7 typically indicate La Niña while sustained negative values below −7 typically indicate El Niño. Values between +7 and −7 generally indicate neutral conditions.

Trade winds for the 5 days ending 5 June 2022 were close to average over the tropical Pacific. Trade winds in the western Pacific have generally been stronger than average in recent months though their strength in May and April was weaker than in February and January.

During La Niña there is a sustained strengthening of the trade winds across much of the tropical Pacific, while during El Niño there is a sustained weakening, or even reversal, of the trade winds.

The Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) is currently at moderate strength over the western hemisphere, and is expected to strengthen. As it traverses eastwards into the Indian and Pacific oceans, it will contribute to the enhanced westerly wind anomalies in the western Pacific, which typically weaken La Niña events.  

Climate models indicate the MJO is likely to continue its typical eastwards movement and maintain or increase in strength.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral. However, the IOD index has been below zero for the last four weeks with two of those weeks being around or below the negative IOD threshold (−0.4 °C). The latest IOD index value for the week ending 6 June 2022 was −0.30 °C.

Over recent weeks cool anomalies have emerged near the Horn of Africa, while warm anomalies have persisted across waters to the north and north-west of Australia. The establishment of a clear gradient in the temperature anomalies across the Indian Ocean is consistent with a developing negative Indian Ocean Dipole pattern.

All five international climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate a negative IOD event could develop during early to mid-winter, with several forecasting strong negative values of the IOD index by August.

Outlook accuracy for the IOD significantly improves from June, while model consistency over the coming weeks will add weight to this outlook. A negative IOD increases the chances of above average winter–spring rainfall for much of Australia. It also increases the chances of warmer days and nights for northern Australia.

Cloudiness near the Date Line has been consistently below average (i.e. positive Outgoing Longwave Radiation anomalies) since June 2021, and continued to be below average during May 2022. However during late May 2022, the anomaly was the smallest since early January 2022 and fluctuations between positive and neutral values have been seen.

Equatorial cloudiness near the Date Line typically decreases during La Niña (positive OLR anomalies) and increases during El Niño (negative OLR anomalies).

The four-month sequence of equatorial Pacific sub-surface temperature anomalies (to May 2022) shows weak cool anomalies in the central Pacific tending to moderate in the far eastern tropical Pacific. Cool anomalies were present across most of the top 100 m of water from 165°E eastwards, but exceed 1.5 °C to 2 °C cooler than average in some areas east of 120°W. The strength of sub-surface cool anomalies has declined month-on-month since March.

Warm anomalies continue in the western to central equatorial Pacific, spanning nearly the full column depth west of 140°E, and underlying the weak cool anomalies east of the 165°E to around 135°W, extending down to around 200 m depth. Warm anomalies remain similar in strength to April and March, but extend much farther eastward than in either month.

For the five days ending 5 June 2022, sub-surface temperatures along the equator were mostly close to average, with some mostly weak warm anomalies in both the east and the west. In the western equatorial Pacific between 125 m and 175 m depth in a region extending west from 170°W, temperatures were 2 to 3 degrees warmer than average. Warm anomalies are closer to the surface in the eastern Pacific and are mostly within 1 degree of average. Compared to two weeks ago, warm anomalies have increased in strength in the western equatorial Pacific.

Cool surface anomalies remain strongest to the south of the equator (roughly 0°S to 10°S), meaning it is possible that the narrower equatorial band sampled here (2°S to 2°N) will be missing some of these stronger off-equatorial cool anomalies. See SST section for a map of present surface temperature anomalies.

The emergence and strengthening of warm anomalies in the sub-surface of the eastern equatorial Pacific typically foreshadows the breakdown of a La Niña event.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral. The IOD index has been below zero over the past four weeks, with two of those weeks exceeding the negative IOD threshold value (−0.4 °C). All climate model outlooks surveyed suggest a negative IOD is likely to form the coming months. Outlook accuracy for IOD forecasts significantly improves from June, while model consistency over the coming weeks and months adds confidence to this outlook. A negative IOD increases the chances of above average winter–spring rainfall for much of Australia. It also increases the chances of warmer days and nights for northern Australia.

The 2021–22 La Niña event is slowly weakening in the tropical Pacific. Compared to two weeks ago, tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures have warmed, particularly in the western half of the tropical Pacific, returning to near-average values. However, some atmospheric indicators continue to show a La Niña signal, including cloudiness along the equator and the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), while trade winds have shifted more firmly towards a more neutral ENSO pattern (neither La Niña nor El Niño).

Most climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate a return to neutral ENSO during the southern hemisphere winter. Two of the seven models maintain La Niña conditions through the southern winter.

Warmer than average sea surface temperatures around much of Australia are likely to be contributing to wetter outlooks over the coming months, and the forecast sea surface temperature pattern in the tropical Pacific still favours average to above average winter rainfall for eastern Australia.

The Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) is currently at moderate strength over the western hemisphere, and is expected to strengthen in the coming weeks. The MJO is contributing to the enhanced westerly wind anomalies currently observed in the western Pacific, which typically act to weaken La Niña events.   

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index is currently positive, but is expected to return to neutral and remain so for much of June. Neutral SAM has little influence on Australian rainfall. Longer-term SAM is tending towards positive which typically has a drying influence for parts of south-west and south-east Australia during winter.

Climate change continues to influence Australian and global climate. Australia's climate has warmed by around 1.47 °C for the 1910–2020 period. Southern Australia has seen a reduction of 10–20% in cool season (April–October) rainfall in recent decades. There has also been a trend towards a greater proportion of rainfall from high intensity short duration rainfall events, especially across northern Australia.

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index is currently positive but is expected to return to neutral values for at least the next two weeks.

Neutral SAM has little influence on Australian rainfall.

In the longer-term, SAM is tending slightly positive which could have a drying influence for parts of south-west and south-east Australia during winter.

La Niña remains active in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Autumn is the usual time of the year in which ENSO events decay and return to neutral.

Most of the seven international climate models surveyed by the Bureau continue to indicate a return to neutral ENSO conditions (neither El Niño nor La Niña) during the southern hemisphere winter. Two models suggest La Niña values could persist throughout winter and into spring, but the majority maintain neutral-ENSO through to at least September.

Even if La Niña decays, the forecast sea surface temperature anomaly patterns in the tropical Pacific remain cooler than average, which would favour average to above average winter rainfall for eastern Australia.

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