Climate outlook for January to March

Issued 18 December 2014

Climate outlook overview

  • A drier than normal January to March is more likely over parts of western and northeastern Australia.
  • A drier than normal January is more likely over northern and southwestern parts of WA, and the southern NT. The chances of a wetter or drier January are roughly equal over the remainder of the country.
  • The temperature outlooks indicate a warmer than normal start to 2015, with the January to March outlooks for both daytime and night-time temperatures above normal across most of most of Australia.
  • Climate influences include near-El Niño conditions in the tropical Pacific, a warm Indian Ocean basin and warmer than normal waters to the southeast of Australia.

A drier outlook for the northeast and west

  • A drier than normal January to March is more likely over most of WA, except southwest and eastern parts. Although large parts of Queensland have an increased chance of a drier than normal season, the area of strongest probabilities has reduced considerably from last month's outlook. Elsewhere, the chances of a wetter or drier season are roughly equal.
  • The monthly outlook for January shows a drier than normal month is more likely over northern and southwestern parts of WA, and the southern NT. The chances of a wetter or drier January are roughly equal over the remainder of the country.
  • Climate influences include El Niño-like conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean, and warmer than normal waters across the Indian Ocean basin and to the southeast of Australia.
  • Outlook accuracy for the season is moderate to high over most of the country. Accuracy is low for parts of the WA interior, northeast SA and southwest Queensland.

A warmer start to 2015

  • Warmer than normal January to March days are more likely for Australia, except for the southwest of WA.
  • Warmer than normal nights are also more likely for Australia, except for parts of western and south coastal WA.
  • Climate influences include El Niño-like conditions in the tropical Pacific, and warmer than normal waters across the Indian Ocean basin and to the southeast of Australia.
  • Maximum temperature accuracy is moderate to high over most of Australia, except for parts of SA, and adjacent eastern areas, where accuracy is low. Minimum temperature accuracy is generally moderate to low across Australia.

Climate influences

  • The tropical Pacific Ocean has been hovering in a near-El Niño state over the past couple of months. POAMA, the Bureau's climate outlook model, suggests sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific will persist at values near, or just below, El Niño levels until well into 2015. The majority of models suggest Pacific Ocean temperatures will remain warmer than normal through the coming season.
  • Waters to the southeast of Australia are likely to remain warmer than normal for the next few months, and hence will continue to influence temperatures across the region.
  • The waters across the central Indian Ocean are generally warmer than normal for this time of the year. The warm waters are not associated with the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which is not present from December to April. Typically warmer than normal waters in the central Indian Ocean can influence conditions in western Australia and parts of eastern Australia.
  • A video explaining the El Niño-Southern Oscillation ("Understanding ENSO") is now available on the Bureau's YouTube channel.
  • Bureau climatologists continually monitor the climate for any significant developments, with information on the likelihood of El Niño/La Niña and IOD events available fortnightly via the ENSO Wrap-Up. For a summary of Pacific and Indian Ocean outlooks, please see the Climate Model Summary.