El Nino Alert Continues with Australian Weather Bureau Expecting Droughts in August

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By Reissa Su | May 21, 2014 1:45 PM EST

Australia remains on alert for El Nino as the weather phenomenon is expected to bring heavier-than-average rains to South America and droughts in the Asia-Pacific region. In the latest update, the Bureau of Meteorology said El Nino will probably develop by August.


A sign advising motorists of a drought is seen along Interstate 5 near Canuta Creek, California in this February 14, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files

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The weather alert indicates there is at least a 70 per cent probability that El Nino will happen in 2014, according to the Bureau's Web site. Over half of the climate models studied suggested thresholds will be exceeded by August. The Australian weather bureau has compared six of the seven models and found that El Nino may exceed thresholds beginning July. The bureau has released a previous forecast on April 22.

The weather event can bring devastation to agricultural markets worldwide as farmers are forced to deal with the droughts and torrential rains. Weather forecasters from the United States to the United Nations have warned El Nino will happen in 2014.

The ABN Amro Group NV said the confirmation of the weather event could increase support for cocoa, coffee and sugar prices. According to Barclay Plc, commodity markets underprice the risk of El Nino.

The Australian bureau said El Nino will begin to develop as the sea surface continues to warm, combined with the weakening of trade winds and the consistent "cloudiness" near the Date Line. The Bureau has observed trade winds in the past fortnight to be almost normal but they have weakened in the past few days.

Research has shown that an El Niño event can increase the global average temperature to 0.1 to 0.2 degrees Celsius. According to Live Science, this is one of the reasons why many climate scientists are concerned about the possibility of another strong El Niño.

Aside from a significant warming of the ocean, an El Niño is triggered when a number of strong wind blasts from west to east off the Papua New Guinea. In 2014, scientists have already observed three powerful wind blasts with the most recent caused by the development of Category 5 Cyclone Ita which led to severe flooding in Solomon Islands.

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A sign advising motorists of a drought is seen along Interstate 5 near Canuta Creek, California in this February 14, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith/Files
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