SYDNEY May 28 Australia's approaching winter is
likely to be warmer and drier than normal in many regions as
climate models point to a developing El Niño phenomenon, the
Bureau of Meteorology said on Wednesday.
Global weather forecasters in recent months have increased
the likelihood of El Niño, a warming of sea-surface temperatures
in the Pacific, heightening uncertainty in global commodity and
El Niño can cause major weather disruptions around the
world, including droughts to Australia's arable southeast.
"A drier-than-normal winter is more likely for the southern
mainland of Australia and parts of the tropical north," the
Bureau said of the three months from June-August.
The odds of below-average rainfall were put at 60 percent or
more in parts of southern Western Australia, most of South
Australia, southern Queensland, New South Wales and northern
Australian wheat farmers have gotten off to a strong start
this season, with timely rains in the major wheat belts across
Exports for the current season are seen at 19.1 million
tonnes, which would rank Australia as the third-largest
exporter, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(Reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)