NT Seasonal Rainfall Outlook: probabilities for Summer 2003/2004, issued 14th November 2003

50:50 odds for wet season rainfall across the NT

The Bureau's rainfall outlook for the heart of the wet season in the Northern Territory, shows that the odds of above average three-month falls are close to 50:50. In other words, there is no strong swings towards either wetter or drier conditions. This outlook is largely the result of recent temperature patterns and trends in the Indian Ocean.

For the December to February period, the chances of above median rainfall range from 45% in the southeast of the Territory to 55% in the northeast (see map). So with climate patterns like the current, about 5 seasons out of 10 are expected to be wetter than average across the Northern Territory, with about 5 out of 10 being drier.

probability of exceeding median rainfall - click on the map for a larger version of the map

Outlook confidence is related to the influence of Pacific and Indian Ocean temperatures on seasonal rainfall. During summer, history shows this influence to be moderate in the northeast of the Territory but weak to very weak in the remainder (see background information).

The tropical Indian Ocean has been cooling strongly over recent months and temperatures there are currently close to average. The Pacific on the other hand, is generally warmer than average, particularly in the west. For more detail see the El Niño Wrap-Up. The recent temperature changes in the Indian Ocean are the dominant influence on the overall pattern of probabilities.

October's value of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was –2, the same as that recorded in September and August. The approximate SOI for the 30 days ending 11th November was –3.


Click on the map above for a larger version of the map. Use the reload/refresh button to ensure the latest forecast map is displayed.

More information on this outlook is available from 9.00am to 5.00pm (CST) Monday to Friday by contacting the Climate and Consultancy section in the Bureau's Darwin Office: (08) 8920 3813.


Corresponding temperature outlook

October 2003 rainfall in historical perspective

August to October 2003 rainfall in historical perspective


Background Information