Qld Seasonal Rainfall Outlook: probabilities for February to April 2005, issued 18th January 2005

Drier season more likely in north Queensland

There is a moderate shift in the odds towards below average rainfall for the late summer to mid-autumn quarter (Feb-Apr) in north Queensland, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. For the rest of the State, the chances of accumulating at least average rain between February and April are close to 50%.

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

For the February to April period, the chances of above median rainfall are between 30 and 40% in Queensland north of about St Lawrence (see map), which means that below median falls have a 60 to 70% chance of occurring. So in years with ocean patterns like the current, about six or seven seasons out of ten are expected to be drier than average in the north of the State, with about three or four out of ten being wetter. This outlook pattern is mostly due to above average temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean.

Outlook confidence is related to the influence of Pacific and Indian Ocean temperatures on seasonal rainfall. During the February to April period, history shows this influence to be moderately consistent across the northern half of Queensland, whereas in the south of the State it is only weakly or very weakly consistent (see background information).

Climate patterns across the Pacific continue to show some signs that are consistent with El Niño (eg warm central Pacific temperatures), and some that are not (eg wind and cloud patterns). The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was –8 in December following –9 in November. The approximate SOI for the 30 days ending 15th January was –3.

For routine updates on the latest data relating to El Niño, together with details on what the phenomenon is and how it has affected Australia in the past, see the El Niño Wrap-Up.


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 (EST) Monday to Friday by contacting the Climate and Consultancy section in the Bureau's Brisbane Office: (07) 3239 8660.


Corresponding temperature outlook

December 2004 rainfall in historical perspective

October to December 2004 rainfall in historical perspective


Background Information