Australians can expect more intense droughts during El Nino years due to climate change.
The Bureau of Meteorology has used new climate models from the IPCC to work out the first consistent projection of how El Nino will be affected by a warming climate.
The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a warming of water that affects weather patterns across the Pacific Ocean.
The BoM's Dr Scott Power says ENSO causes large changes in rainfall and severe weather, directly affecting agricultural production, ecosystems and the spread of disease.
He says there's been great uncertainty about the way global warming might change ENSO, but new models indicate rainfall will likely be affected.
"This interference causes an intensification of El Nino-driven drying in the western Pacific and rainfall increases in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific," Dr Power said in a statement.
"The future of ENSO and the disruption it causes to the climate of the earth, its people and its ecosystems are clearer now than ever before."
CSIRO's Dr Wenju Cai said that in the past computer models had differed, but the new study provided a much clearer picture.
"During El Nino, Western Pacific countries (Australasia, including Australia) experience unusually low rainfall, while the eastern equatorial Pacific receives more rainfall than usual," he said in a statement.
"This study finds that both the wet and dry anomalies will be greater in future El Nino years.
"This means that ENSO-induced drought and floods will be more intense in the future."