Positive rainfall outlook for large parts of Australia

28 April 2016

The Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) latest three-month rainfall outlook suggests an increased chance of wet conditions across large parts of the country for the May to July period. However, the forecast is much more positive for June and July, with only an even chance of above median rainfall for much of Australia during May.

NSW and SA, in particular, have the greatest likelihood (up to 75%) of above-average rainfall, while southern Queensland and central WA are forecast a 60-70% chance of exceeding the median rainfall during the May to July period.

Southwest WA, Tasmania, most of Victoria and the tropical north have equal chances of a wetter or drier than average three-months. It should be noted, however, that northern Australia enters its dry season at the start of May – so May to July is historically a very low rainfall period for this region (average of less than 10mm for many parts) and above median falls are not necessarily reflective of high rainfall.

The current outlook reportedly reflects a combination of several factors. The 2015-16 El Niño is rapidly weakening, with models forecasting ENSO indicators to return to neutral by mid-May. Furthermore, Indian Ocean temperatures and sea surface temperatures around the Australian coastline are very warm – which may provide extra moisture for rain systems as they cross the country.

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