National Seasonal Temperature Outlook: probabilities for January to March 2005, issued 16th December 2004

Higher temperatures likely in north and east

There is a moderate to strong shift in the odds towards above average maximum temperatures for the March quarter (Jan-Mar) in parts of northern and eastern Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology announced today. In contrast, small parts of southeastern Australia are more likely to be cooler than average the during the first three months of 2005. This outlook pattern is mainly the result of above average temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean, particularly the west.

For the January to March period, the chances of above average seasonal daytime temperatures are over 60% northeast of a line from Derby in northwest WA to Newcastle in NSW. Within this region, the chances peak in the 75 to 80% range in eastern Arnhem Land and in parts of north Queensland (see map). So in years with ocean patterns like the current, about six or seven seasons out of every ten are expected to be warmer than average across these parts of the country, with about three or four out of ten being cooler.

In southeast SA and western Victoria, the chances of a warmer than average January to March are between 35 and 40%. This means that a cooler than average season has a 60 to 65% chance of occurring. Across the rest of the country, the chances lie in the 40 to 60% range.

Outlook confidence is related to the consistency of the influence of Pacific and Indian Ocean temperatures on seasonal temperatures. During the March quarter, history shows this influence on maximum temperatures to be moderately consistent over large areas of the country. The influence is weak or very weak in parts of northern, central and far western Australia (see background information).

Mean seasonal minimum temperatures have an increased chance of being above normal over much of northern Australia, with probabilities above 60% across the NT, the northern half of Queensland and northeast WA. Elsewhere, the chances of above average overnight March quarter temperatures range between 40 and 60%. This outlook pattern is mostly due to above average temperatures in the Pacific Ocean.

History shows the oceans' influence on minimum temperatures during the March quarter to be moderately consistent over most of Queensland, the NT and northern WA. Elsewhere the influence shows weak to very weak consistency.

probability of exceeding median maximum temperature - click on the image for a larger version of the map
probability of exceeding median minimum temperature - click on the image for a larger version of the map

Click on the maps above for larger versions of the maps. Use the reload/refresh button to ensure the latest forecast maps are displayed.

The following climate meteorologists in the National Climate Centre can be contacted about this outlook: Grant Beard on (03) 9669 4527, Felicity Gamble on (03) 9669 4256, David Jones on (03) 9669 4085
Regional versions of this media release are available: | Qld | NSW | Vic | Tas | SA | WA | NT |

Regional commentary is available from the Climate and Consultancy Sections in the Bureau's Regional Offices:
Queensland -(07) 3239 8669 or (07) 3239 8666
New South Wales -(02) 9296 1522
Victoria -(03) 9669 4949
Tasmania -(03) 6221 2043
South Australia -(08) 8366 2664
Western Australia -(08) 9263 2222
The Northern Territory -(08) 8920 3813



Corresponding rainfall outlook

Maximum temperature departures from average for September to November 2004 - base period 1961-1990

Minimum temperature departures from average for September to November 2004 - base period 1961-1990


Background Information