Hot weather has started earlier than usual this year.
Because the heat occurred with WNW winds, eastern and northern NSW 'suffered' more than Victoria and southern NSW, but their turn will come as northerly winds become more of a feature as we head into summer.
The El Nino in the Pacific is going from strength to strength and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is strongly positive (which means dry weather for SE Australia) but as we have referred to previously there are a couple of signs that may bring relief to an otherwise, hot, dry season coming up.
One is the persistent warm waters in the tropical western Pacific and areas in the Coral Sea, which is rare with an El Nino, and the other is the likelihood that the positive IOD will break down fairly quickly with the arrival of monsoonal conditions in the tropical Indian Ocean expected around December.
As for some of the other climate indicators, it is still too early to discern any potential Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) impacts on the weather.
In any case, the influence of the MJO is often later in El Nino years than in La Nina or neutral years, but it is likely to expect the MJO to potentially start playing a greater role in Australia's weather and climate by around mid to late November.
Last year also experienced a high number of positive Southern Annular Mode (SAM) phases which blocked westerly winds, but this is expected to be different this year with a greater number of periods of westerly winds occurring - each potentially bring hot area from inland Australia to the populated east coast.
So, the important question is how long will the pattern encouraging higher than normal temperatures and lower than normal rainfall persist?
It is still a little early to determine when these patterns will change, although most traditional El Ninos breakdown in late summer or early autumn and some early indications point to early autumn being more likely this time (i.e. slightly later breakdown than normal).
Until then, any rainfall that does occur will more likely be in the form of more isolated showers and storms as opposed to broad rain areas, but a brief major event is still possible.
By far the majority of the major models indicate that a return to at least neutral conditions in both the Indian Ocean and across the Pacific will occur during mid to late autumn next year resulting in a return to more average temperature and rainfall patterns before next winter.
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