Northern Australian rainfall outlook

Issued 22 January 2014

Wetter or drier over northern Australia? Outlook shows equal chance


  • The chances of a wetter or drier than normal season are roughly equal over northern Australia
  • Most climate influences are near average, including a neutral tropical Pacific
  • Outlook accuracy is low to moderate over most of northern Australia, except for areas near the WA-NT border and southeast Queensland, where the accuracy is very low.
Probability of exceeding median rainfall, large image


For most of northern Australia, the outlook shows a nearly equal chance (i.e., close to 50%) of seeing above median rainfall as below median rainfall. The region with the highest chances of exceeding the median rainfall during the February to April period is Queensland's Central West. While the odds for increased rainfall are not exceptionally high, when compared to last month's outlook for January to March, this February to April outlook shows an improvement in odds over the drought affected Queensland regions.

Climate influences

The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral, with the majority of atmospheric and oceanic indicators close to their long-term average. Dynamical models surveyed by the Bureau suggest ENSO-neutral conditions are likely to persist at least for the next three months.

Oceans surrounding Australia are generally expected to remain close to their 1981-2010 average.

How accurate is the outlook?

Outlook accuracy for the February to April period is:

  • Moderate over most of the south and Top End of the NT, and large areas of Queensland
  • Low over the west central NT and western and southwest Queensland, including over Queensland's Central West where the higher rainfall probabilities are present
  • Very low over an area near the WA-NT border, and southeast Queensland