* Tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures cool in last fortnight
* Drier spring weather for Australia still likely - weather
(Adds detail, quote)
By Colin Packham
SYDNEY, Sept 25 Tropical Pacific Ocean
temperatures indicating the onset of an El Nino have eased over
the last two weeks, reducing the chance of the weather event
emerging, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said on Tuesday.
However, the bureau warned the risk of an El Nino -- which
can trigger drought in Australia, Southeast Asia and India and
floods in parts of South and North America -- returning
Pacific Ocean temperatures had cooled in the last fortnight,
while other indicators remained in neutral territory, it said.
The bureau said that despite the change in indicators
conditions continued to favour below average rainfall over much
of Australia in the southern hemisphere spring.
"We are seeing the Indian Ocean showing a pattern that would
bring drier conditions to at least central and south east
Australia," Andrew Watkins, manager of climate prediction at the
weather bureau's National Climate Centre said.
"That signal is a little stronger than the El Nino signature
in the Pacific is showing."
Japan's weather bureau said on Sept. 10 its climate models
indicated the El Nino phenomenon was under way and there was a
high chance it would last until winter.
El Nino can cause above average rains in northern Peru and
Bolivia, drought in Southeast Asia, Australia, India and
northeast Brazil, cyclones in the central Pacific and stormy
weather in the southern and western United States.
The worst El Nino on record in 1997/98 killed more than
2,000 people and caused property damage estimated at $33
billion. The pattern can also cause serious damage to crops such
as wheat in Australia due to drought.
(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Ed Davies)