|Qld Seasonal Rainfall Outlook: probabilities for Spring 2006, issued 23rd August 2006|
Below average falls indicated for north and west Queensland
There is a moderate to strong shift in the odds towards below normal spring (Sep-Nov) rainfall across most of northern and western Queensland, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. In the southeast of the State, the chances are generally close to 50% for accumulating at least median rainfall over September to November.
The pattern of seasonal rainfall odds across Queensland is a result of higher than average temperatures in both the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the latter of which has been warming strongly in recent months.
For the September to November period, the chances of above median rainfall are between 30 and 40% over most of northern and western Queensland (see map). In the Northern Goldfields district, the chances approach 25%. These probabilities mean that below median falls have a 60 to 75% chance of occurring throughout much of the north and west of the State.
So in years with ocean patterns like the current, about six or seven springs out of ten are expected to be drier than average in these various parts of Queensland, with about three or four out of ten being wetter.
Outlook confidence is related to how consistently the Pacific and Indian Oceans affect Australian rainfall. During spring, history shows this effect to be moderately consistent across most of Queensland, within the exception of the southeast of the State where it is only weakly consistent (see background information).
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was negative for the third straight month in July with a value of −9. This came after readings of −6 in June and −10 in May. The approximate SOI for the 30 days ending 20th August was −16. If history is any guide, the SOI will probably stay negative for the rest of the year.
Although a late-developing El Niño event is still a possibility this year, especially considering the SOI, the consensus from computer models is for continued neutral ENSO conditions for the remainder of 2006, but on the warm side of average. Continued Pacific warmth and negative SOI values are generally associated with increased likelihood of below average rainfall in eastern and northern Australia. For routine updates and comprehensive discussion on the latest data relating to ENSO, together with details on what the phenomenon is and how it has affected Australia in the past, please see the ENSO 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.|
THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE SEASONAL OUTLOOK IS EXPECTED BY 26th SEPTEMBER 2006