Pacific cooling signals El Nino weather pattern nearly over: Australia

A border fence stretches into the Pacific Ocean as it separates the United States from Tijuana, Mexico, on March 31, 2016.
A border fence stretches into the Pacific Ocean as it separates the United States from Tijuana, Mexico, on March 31, 2016.PHOTO: REUTERS

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The Pacific Ocean has cooled to near neutral levels over the past two weeks, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday (May 10), as the end of the strongest El Nino weather pattern in nearly 20 years creeps closer.

El Nino’s are associated with hot, drier conditions, especially across Australia’s east coast and South-east Asia, but can produce higher precipitation on the west coast of South America.

As the El Nino draws to an end, the bureau said there remains a 50 percent chance of the opposite La Nina pattern emerging during 2016.

The La Nina weather phenomenon is a cooling of the Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of South America that tends to follow the El Nino pattern, a warming of those waters.  

La Nina events are associated with the increased probability of wetter conditions over much of Australia, particularly over the eastern and northern areas, and increased numbers of tropical cyclones.