The shortest La Nina in almost a decade has ended, just three months after it began.
Sea surface temperatures have warmed steadily since December and are now in the neutral range, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said in a statement on Tuesday. Most models indicate a neutral pattern will persist into the Southern Hemisphere autumn and winter, it said.
La Ninas happen when the Pacific’s surface cools and the atmosphere above it reacts, disrupting weather patterns around the world. The most recent event dried out fields from Kansas to Texas and parched soy crops in parts of Argentina. While the weak and short-lived La Nina had relatively little effect on Australian rainfall over the past summer, previous patterns have brought flooding rain to the country’s coal-mining regions and inundated farmland.
The U.S. last week said there’s a 62 percent chance the Pacific Ocean would return to a neutral phase between April and June. Researchers have detected warmer water building below the ocean’s surface, according to the Climate Prediction Center.
The latest La Nina was the shortest since 2008-09, according to the Bureau of Meteorology, citing records dating back to 1980. The Pacific Ocean slowly swings between three states, running from cold to normal to warm.