Climate outlook for November to January

Issued 29 October 2015

Climate outlook overview

  • November temperatures are likely to be warmer than average for southern Australia, with below-average rainfall across the southeast and parts of the north but above-average rainfall across large parts of the west.
  • The November to January outlook indicates below-average rainfall is likely across parts of Victoria, NSW and the tropics. Warmer daytime temperatures are likely along much of the coast of southern and eastern Australia but central parts of the NT are likely to be cooler. Overnight temperatures are likely to be warmer across most of the country.
  • The current outlook reflects a combination of a strong El Niño in the Pacific, a decaying positive Indian Ocean Dipole, and very warm Indian Ocean temperatures. (See the climate influences section for more information).

Chances of a drier season persist over southeast and northern Australia

  • The November outlook shows a drier than average month is likely in the lead up to summer across parts of southeast Australia, with much of northern Australia likely to experience a drier than normal start to the northern wet season. Much of WA is likely to have a wetter month, though it should be noted that southern areas are climatologically dry at this time of year.
  • The three month period from November to January is likely to be drier than average across parts of Victoria, NSW, the Pilbara region, and across Cape York. Wetter than average conditions are favoured across the central and southwestern parts of the country. However, it should be noted for much of this wetter-than-average area, including western Queensland, accuracy is low at this time of year. Caution should be exercised when using the outlook in areas of low accuracy.
  • The current outlook reflects a combination of a strong El Niño in the Pacific, a decaying positive Indian Ocean Dipole, and very warm Indian Ocean temperatures.
  • Historical outlook accuracy for November to January is moderate to high over eastern and western parts of Australia, and parts of the Top End of the NT. Across central Australia, extending from eastern WA to western Queensland, and much of SA, accuracy is low.

Warmer nights likely for most of Australia

  • The November outlook shows maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be warmer south of the tropics.
  • Daytime temperatures for November to January are likely to be warmer than average along much of the coast of southern Australia and large parts of Victoria and NSW, but cooler in the central NT.
  • Overnight temperatures are likely to be warmer than normal across much of the country except in parts of the tropical north and western Victoria, which have an equal chance of warmer or cooler nights.
  • The current outlook reflects a combination of a strong El Niño in the Pacific, a decaying positive Indian Ocean Dipole, and warm temperatures in the Indian Ocean outside the tropics.
  • Maximum temperature accuracy is moderate to high over most of Australia, except to the south of the Gulf of Carpentaria, where accuracy is low. Minimum temperature accuracy is moderate to high over much of the country.

Climate influences

  • A strong El Niño continues in the tropical Pacific Ocean, and is very likely to persist into early 2016. The El Niño influence on Australian rainfall starts to decrease at this time of year–historically November to January sees lower rainfall across northern Queensland, and slight drying influence across the southeast. Conversely, inland WA sees an increased chance of rainfall at this time of year.
  • A positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and a strong El Niño combine to result in decreased rainfall during winter-spring across eastern Australia and parts of the Top End of the NT. The November outlook generally reflects these climate influences. However, as the positive IOD decays toward the end of the year, an easing towards more climatological odds can be expected. But, even if this were to occur, September and October have both been drier than average, which means Australia is not well buffered with moisture in the lead up to the summer months.
  • Typically an IOD event decays in November or early December as the monsoon trough shifts south over the tropical Indian Ocean, changing the wind patterns. Once this occurs, the two dominating climate drivers are likely to be El Niño in the Pacific Ocean and the warm waters across the central and southern Indian Ocean, which also may ease the outlook back towards more even odds.
  • Bureau climatologists continually monitor the climate for any significant developments, with information on 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.