La Niña officially ends, 50% of El Niño forming in 2023: BOM

14 Mar 2023 | Eoin Hughes

The end of La Niña has been officially confirmed by the Australian Board of Meteorology (BOM), following previous updates by the US and Japanese agencies at the end of last week.

“La Niña has ended in the tropical Pacific Ocean. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is now neutral (neither La Niña nor El Niño),” the Bureau said in a statement this morning.

The Bureau said neutral ENSO conditions are likely to continue through the southern hemisphere’s autumn according to international climate models.

But the Bureau gives around a 50% chance El Niño could form later this year, and so has issued an El Niño watch.

The Australian Bureau’s statement echoed the earlier statement of America’s National Weather Service (NWS).

“La Niña has ended and ENSO-neutral conditions are expected to continue through the Northern Hemisphere spring and early summer 2023,” the NWS said on March 9.

“Ocean and atmospheric conditions in the equatorial Pacific in February appear to have ended the La Niña event that has continued since the fall of 2021,” Japan's Meteorological Agency said in a statement on March 10.

However, the Japanese Agency gave a 50% chance of El Niño forming in summer 2023, earlier than the American projection.

Ocean temperatures in the Eastern Pacific are generally cooler during a La Niña while trade winds pick up, bringing wetter-than-usual weather to Australia and Southeast Asia and drier weather to the Americas.

An end to La Niña could therefore lead to stronger production in Argentina, where dry soils from La Niña have repeatedly harmed harvests.

But El Niño conditions later in the year could bring drier conditions for Australia, with consequences for wheat growing.

Australian trade sources have told Agricensus they believe El Niño conditions would return harvests to more normal levels after several record breaking levels.