Australia says El Nino-reinforcing weather condition ends

SYDNEY (Reuters) - A climate condition that has reinforced the impact of an El Nino weather event in recent months has broken down over the past fortnight, but a strong El Nino persists, Australia's weather bureau said on Tuesday.

A positive Indian Ocean Dipole - a difference in sea surface temperatures between two areas - ended in the past two weeks, as is common at the start of the country's monsoon season, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said.

More broadly, the bureau said Indian Ocean temperatures had remained warmer than average in 2015, which has offset some of the drying influence of the current El Nino.

A strong El Nino persists in the Pacific Ocean, it said, comparable to 1997/98, but climate models suggest sea surface temperatures are approaching their peak and will decrease in the first quarter of 2016.

An El Nino, a warming of sea-surface temperatures in the Pacific, can cause scorching weather across Asia and East Africa, but heavy rains and floods in South America.

(Reporting by Colin Packham; Editing by Richard Pullin)