The Bureau of Meteorology has released its updated 2019 Autumn Outlook, showing drier than average conditions are likely for large parts of northern and eastern Australia, and warmer than average conditions are very likely for the entire country. It comes on the back of what will be Australia’s warmest summer on record.
The Bureau’s manager of long-range forecasting, Dr Andrew Watkins, acknowledged the outlook is not the news many would be wanting to hear.
“After a record hot December and January it won’t come as a surprise that this summer will be our warmest on record, and apart from areas of northern Queensland, many locations fell short of their summer rainfall averages too,” Dr Watkins said.
“Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t giving a strong indication that we’ll see a return to average or above average rainfall in many areas over the autumn period. The only exception is for parts of inland Western Australia.
“Autumn is obviously a critical time of year for agriculture, particularly in the southern parts of the country. It’s important to remember that despite what the outlook is suggesting, individual heavy rainfall events are always possible, and people should stay up to date with the latest seven-day forecast and warnings for their area.”
The outlooks also show that warmer than average conditions are very likely to continue through autumn.
“If we have a look at what’s driving the outlook, we can see that Australia’s two main climate drivers in the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean Dipole are currently in a neutral phase, meaning there’s no strong influence from either. But things have been warming in the tropical Pacific Ocean over the past month, so we are currently at El Nino WATCH – meaning double the normal chance of an El Nino forming in autumn.
“We are also observing cooler than average waters off the coast of Western Australia, which may reduce the number of rain-bearing systems impacting the south of the country.
“We also know that 24 of the last 29 years have seen a drier than average start to autumn in south eastern Australia, due to a long term southwards shift of our weather patterns.”
The Bureau will be releasing its summer summaries tomorrow afternoon (Friday, March 1). Preliminary figures indicate that Summer 2018-19 will be Australia’s warmest summer on record, and will also be among the top ten driest since national rainfall figures started in 1910.
It’s also expected the current summer period will be among the top five warmest on record for each state and territory.
View the latest outlook: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/overview/summary
Videos and maps are also available: http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/