The Bureau of Meteorology is on La Niña watch just a month after the summer’s El Niño ended.

El Niño years are followed by La Niña years about 40 per cent of the time, and in about 10 per cent of years an El Niño year has been followed by another El Niño year.

A La Niña weather event would bring increased rain to eastern Australia. (Weatherzone)

Half the time, El Niño years are followed by neutral years, and the Bureau initially forecast ongoing warmer temperatures in coming months.

But yesterday, BoM said there were some “early signs” a La Niña might form in the Pacific Ocean later in the year.

“When La Niña Watch criteria have been met in the past, a La Niña event has subsequently developed around 50 per cent of the time,” the Bureau said in its Climate Driver Update.

“There is about an equal chance of neutral ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) conditions in the same outlook period.”

A tongue of cooler water in the Pacific could see a return to La Nina this year. (NOAA)
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The Bureau said that sea surface temperatures in the central Pacific had been steadily cooling since December.

“The Bureau’s modelling suggests that ENSO will likely remain neutral until at least July 2024,” the update read.

“It is important to emphasise that early signs of La Niña are most relevant to the climate of the tropical Pacific, and that the long-range forecast for Australian rainfall and temperature provides better guidance for local climate.”

A La Niña weather event, which Australia experienced three consecutive times before the recent El Niño, is associated with cooler temperatures and heavier rainfall.

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