Australia has been put on La Niña ‘watch’ as meteorologists point to a likely cooling Pacific Ocean, which could bring more rain to parts of the country.

The Bureau of Meteorology says there are some signs a La Niña might form in the Pacific Ocean later this year, but there is no guarantee.

There is now a 50-50 chance the weather system will form, as sea surface temperatures have been steadily dropping in the central Pacific since late 2023.

La Niña is a climate pattern involving cool ocean conditions off Australia’s east coast, which historically brings wetter-than-usual conditions for the nation’s northern and eastern regions.

The long-range forecast for the period from June to August predicted increased rainfall for some parts of the country, Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Angus Hines said.

Higher-than average rain was likely for parts of Western Australia and South Australia, while there were “roughly equal chances” of above or below-average falls in much of the east, he said.

Record-high global sea surface temperatures, observed each month between April 2023 and April 2024, meant that past experiences of changing conditions in the Pacific might not be reliable, the bureau said.

Current global ocean conditions have not been observed before, making it difficult for meteorologists to accurately predict future weather based on past observations.

Last September, the bureau declared an El Niño event, which typically brings drier-than-normal conditions and above-average temperatures.

But some parts of Australia still copped a soaking over summer.