Climate Model Summary

Models maintain near-La Niña in Pacific

The pattern of ocean temperatures in the central tropical Pacific shows some La Niña-like characteristics, however currently falls short of typical La Niña thresholds.

Several models suggest these thresholds may be reached during December, however only one model maintains these values throughout the southern summer. A La Niña forming this late in the year has only occurred once since 1980.

Most surveyed models indicate that the current negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is in decay. The IOD does not impact on Australian climate typically from December to May when the Australian monsoon becomes active. 

NINO3.4 outlook

The latest NINO3.4 outlooks (initialised in November and December) suggest temperatures in the central tropical Pacific are likely to remain cooler than average during December, with three models meeting or exceeding La Niña thresholds in December. However, only one model maintains these temperatures throughout the summer months. The other two models suggest temperatures will return to within neutral bounds by February.

A La Niña developing this late in the calendar year has only occurred once since 1980: in 2008–09. If a La Niña was to occur, models (and past events) indicate it is likely to be short-lived and weak.

The all-model average NINO3.4 outlook for December is −0.7 °C but warms to −0.4 °C by February 2017.

The Bureau routinely monitors oceanic and atmospheric conditions and model outlooks. The most recent weekly NINO3.4 value to 4 December is −0.3 °C. NINO3.4 values that persist below −0.8 °C typically indicate a La Niña event has become established.

Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) outlook

The latest weekly IOD index value to 4 December is 0 °C, continuing within the neutral range. The IOD is unable to form typically between December and May, when the monsoon trough becomes active in the southern hemisphere. It therefore has no impact on Australian climate at this time of year.

The 2016 negative IOD event is considered one of the strongest such events in at least 50 years and has had a significant impact on winter and spring rainfall during 2016. 

Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA)

POAMA, run at the Bureau of Meteorology, generates an eight-month forecast each fortnight. The most recent model run (generated 6 December) indicates NINO3.4 will remain cooler than average during the summer months with a return to near-zero values in the first quarter of 2017.

The forecast values, shown below in bold, are for POAMA's ensemble mean.

Product code: IDCKGL0000

Australian climate is influenced by temperature patterns in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. This page provides information on Pacific and Indian Ocean outlooks for the coming six months based on a survey of international climate models.

Further details: ENSO Wrap-Up (ENSO and IOD); Climate Outlooks

Average of international model outlooks for NINO3.4

Average of international model outlooks for the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)

Based on the ensemble mean for the most recent model run.

The arrows on the dials indicate the combined average of monthly outlooks from a survey of international global climate models. Note that the individual model runs vary around the average.

More information:

NINO3.4 covers the central Pacific region.

Graphs

Nino 3.4 2 month outlook Models information
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.

Graphs

Latest POAMA IOD outlook Models information
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.

POAMA Long-Range Outlook

Issued 04 December 2016

Updated fortnightly

These model forecasts of the El Niño – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are generated by the Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA), a dynamical computer model of the climate system run at the Bureau of Meteorology. They are included in the monthly model summary of predictions from POAMA and other models operated by international organisations.

POAMA outlooks provide forecasts out to nine months ahead. The model ensemble distributions shown here provide a range of possible developments in sea surface temperature (SST) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean (NINO regions) and for the Indian Ocean.

NINO34 predictions for the next 9 months.

Skip to past graph to table of values

Outlook graph for selected indice

NINO34 probabilities

Click dates in the first row to see probability graphs
Outlook for month
NINO34 (°C) -0.50 -0.43 -0.33 -0.21 -0.13 -0.05 0.06
Model cool frequency (<−0.8°C) 0% 0% 6.06% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Model neutral frequency 100% 100% 93.94% 100% 100% 99.99% 90.91%
Model warm frequency (>+0.8°C) 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% 9.09%

More information:

Model details

The models used within our survey are listed below with links to their agency homepages, model output and technical information about the model.

Model data are provided for Bureau of Meteorology use by the agencies detailed in the Models section. Respective agency copyright applies to these data.