Tropical Pacific remains neutral; ocean warming slowly
Tropical Pacific climate indicators remain at neutral values for this time of the year. This includes the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), trade winds, cloudiness, and sea surface temperatures. Ocean temperatures below the surface are currently warmer than average in the central and western Pacific on a monthly scale, with the eastern subsurface Pacific closer to normal, but slowly warming.
Climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology show that the tropical Pacific Ocean is likely to warm further over the coming months. All seven models surveyed indicate conditions are likely to approach, or possibly exceed, El Niño thresholds during the late winter to early spring period. Large parts of eastern Australia are typically drier and warmer than normal in winter/spring as El Niño events develop. No climate models favour a return to La Niña.
While the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently considered neutral, the IOD index has been positive for the past three weeks. About half of the current POAMA outlooks show sustained positive levels in 2012.