Thursday, February 22, 2007

El Nino declared over

There is the prospect of some good news on water for drought-stricken farmers and beleaguered state and local governments with empty dams, relief may soon be at hand.

The Bureau of Meteorology has declared that the El Nino which has made the drought so much worse for the past year or so has passed.

A senior climatologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Grant Beard, says it's time to be optimistic about drought-breaking rains, although the drought is far from over yet.

"What we're talking about is that the El Nino event that has dominated the Pacific Basin in 2006 to early 2007 has finished," he says.

"The things that we look at are most importantly the ocean temperatures, and they've been cooling quite rapidly, they've been below El Nino thresholds now for around about a month.

"There's also a large body of cold water in the sub-surface in the central to eastern parts of the Pacific. In addition to those things, the Southern Oscillation Index has been neutral for three out of the past four months, and the trade winds have also been fairly close to or stronger than average in the areas where they are normally weaker than average, when there's an El Nino.

"So, all these indicators taken together show that it's undergone fairly rapid decay during the last one to two months."

However Dr Beard says the passing of El Nino does not necessarily mean rain.

"Unfortunately El Nino is not an on-off switch, so just because the El Nino has finished in terms of its broad scale indicators, it doesn't mean that imminent widespread rain is about to occur to break the drought.

"In fact, a lot of the areas through the south and east of the country in terms of water supplies, are so far behind that only several years of healthy falls will replenish those supplies to something that is considered satisfactory."

The news does however increase the likelihood of rain.
More here.....

No comments: