Climate Model Summary

Models suggest ENSO neutral through austral autumn

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is expected to remain neutral for the remainder of the austral summer and autumn with most climate models suggesting sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean will remain near the long-term average until at least May 2017.

While all models indicate a gradual warming of ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific over the next six months, two models suggest warming to El Niño thresholds may occur by June. The remaining models maintain temperatures consistent with a neutral ENSO throughout the outlook period. It also must be noted that this outlook straddles the autumn predictability barrier - typically the ENSO transition period - during which most models have their lowest forecast accuracy.

NINO3.4 outlook

The latest NINO3.4 outlooks (issued in January) indicate temperatures in the central tropical Pacific, which have been cooler than average since July 2016, are likely to warm gradually over the next six months. However, model consensus suggests the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) will remain neutral until at least the end of the southern autumn.

The most recent weekly NINO3.4 value to 15 January is −0.3 °C. By April, the all model average is +0.2 °C indicating consistent warming over the coming months. By June, two models exceed the El Niño threshold with a third model falling just short. It must be noted that this outlook straddles the autumn predictability barrier - typically the ENSO transition period - during which most models have their lowest forecast accuracy. Thus, outlooks beyond May should be used with caution.

The Bureau routinely monitors oceanic and atmospheric conditions and model outlooks. NINO3.4 values that persist below −0.8 °C typically indicate a La Niña event has become established, while persistent values above +0.8 °C typically indicate El Niño.

Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) outlook

The latest weekly IOD index value to 15 January is –0.2 °C, well within the neutral range. The IOD is typically unable to form between December and April, when the monsoon trough becomes active in the southern hemisphere. It has little impact on Australian climate at this time of year.

Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA)

POAMA, run at the Bureau of Meteorology, generates an nine-month forecast each fortnight. The most recent model run (generated 15 January) indicates NINO3.4 will warm gradually during the outlook period, but remain ENSO neutral.

By August, POAMA suggests a ~15% chance of temperatures in the NINO3.4 region reaching values consistent with El Niño. However, this forecast straddles the autumn predictability barrier, meaning forecast skill beyond autumn is low. The ensemble mean during the winter months remains just within neutral boundaries.

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 15 January 2017

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) -0.29 -0.11 0.06 0.21 0.32 0.40 0.48
Model cool frequency (<−0.8°C) 0% 6.06% 0% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Model neutral frequency 100% 93.94% 100% 100% 96.96% 87.88% 84.85%
Model warm frequency (>+0.8°C) 0% 0% 0% 0% 3.03% 12.12% 15.15%

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.