El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean are likely to make things worse for Queensland farmers battling drought.
The revelation was made by the Bureau of Meteorology during questioning by Senator James McGrath at Senate Estimates Hearings in Canberra.
Dr Rob Vertessy, of the Bureau of Meteorology, told the committee the current El Nino was likely to be more intense than average.
He explained sea temperatures in the Central Pacific were running around 1.2 degrees warmer than normal, with international models suggesting they may rise to 2.4 degrees higher than normal.
“So, for Western Queensland, or for Queensland, which is 70% drought declared, the outlook is not good?” Senator McGrath asked.
“No, not good. The chances of relief of that condition are greatly diminished with El Nino conditions,” Dr Vertessy replied.
Similar conditions in 1982 coincided with the Ash Wednesday bush fires.
The Bureau is continuing to monitor the condition and provide monthly forecasts of its impact on temperatures and rainfall for the season ahead.
“The El Nino creates basically drier and hotter conditions for Eastern Australia, with most of the effects felt in New South Wales, and that’s as a result of there being very warm water in the eastern pacific and cooler water in the western pacific up against Australia, and that has the effect of moving moist maritime air away from the Australian Continent,” Dr Vertessy had earlier explained.