Australia's weather is influenced by many climate drivers. The most important climate drivers in Australia include El Niño and La Niña which have the strongest influence on year-to-year climate variability for most of the country.
El Niño and La Niña events are a natural part of the global climate system.
La Niña is typically associated with higher-than-average rainfall across much of Australia, particularly inland eastern and northern regions, sometimes causing floods.
El Niño is typically associated with reduced rainfall northern and eastern Australia.They are part of a natural cycle known as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), explains Professor Scott Power, Director of the Centre for Applied Climate Sciences at the University of Southern Queensland.
- El Niño and La Niña occur when the Pacific Ocean and the atmosphere above it change from their neutral 'normal' state for several seasons.
- The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) monitors and reports on a range of ENSO indicators.
- The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), another climate phenomenon that influences rainfall patterns around the Indian Ocean, including Australia.
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"The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is the term scientists give to a naturally occurring oscillation in the climate system the consists of three different phases. Probably the most famous is “El Niño”, and another one is La Niña, which we're in at the current time. And then there's also a neutral phase when not much is happening.”