The Bureau of Meteorology has declared that El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are underway.


This means that, under the influence of these two climate drivers, warmer and drier conditions will be more likely over spring and summer for parts of Australia.

Both El Niño and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) tend to draw rain away from Australia. This combined impact will increase the chance of below average rainfall over much of the continent and higher temperatures across the southern two-thirds of the country. El Niño events increase the risk of extreme temperature shifts, like heatwaves and hotter days. Based on Australia’s weather history, it is likely that warm and dry conditions will persist over eastern Australia until autumn next year.


Increased fire danger in south-eastern Australia is often associated with El Niño conditions. A positive IOD contributes to greater fire risk over southeast Australia in spring, while El Niño contributes to elevated fire risk over both spring and summer.


The Bureau of Meteorology made the El Niño declaration after three of the four El Niño criteria were met. The last time Australia encountered both El Niño and a positive IOD was in 2015.

No two El Niño or IOD events or their impacts are the same, however approximately two-thirds of Australia’s driest years on record were during El Niño. El Niño occurs on average every three to five years, and like IOD is part of a natural climate cycle. A positive IOD can have as much influence on Australia’s rainfall and temperature as El Niño.

Since 1960, there have been around 16 positive IOD and 15 El Niño years. Seven years have seen both positive IOD and El Niño events happen at the same time.


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