Farewell La Niña
National map of probability of exceeding median rainfall
The 2011–12 La Niña ended in March, following the second successive summer in which La Niña contributed to significant rain and flooding across many parts of Australia.
The period from April 2010 to March 2012 was Australia's wettest two-year period ever recorded. Despite its demise, ocean temperatures around parts of Australia remain very warm, and hence above-average rainfall is still forecast for some regions.
So with La Nina finished, what can we expect next?
In the past, about 70 per cent of two-year La Niña events were followed by neutral or El Niño phases. Current climate indicators across the tropical Pacific Ocean remain neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) but some, though clearly not all, climate models show an increased risk of El Niño conditions developing during winter or spring. It's still far too early to make a definitive call about the second half of 2012, but Bureau climatologists will, as always, be monitoring Pacific Ocean conditions and model outlooks very closely. Watch this space.