Northern Aust Seasonal Temperature Outlook: probabilities for July to September 2007, issued 26th June 2007

Warmer September quarter for much of northern Australia

The outlook for maximum temperatures averaged over the September quarter (July to September) shows a moderate shift in the odds towards warmer than normal conditions over most of the north-central and northeast parts of the country.

The pattern of seasonal temperature odds across Australia is a result of recent higher than average temperatures (although with a cooling trend) in the tropical Pacific Ocean, and also in parts of the tropical and sub-tropical Indian Ocean. Each Ocean's influence is similar.

Averaged over July to September, the chances are mainly above 60% for above-normal maximum temperatures in Queensland, the NT, northern SA and northern NSW (see map), with 65 to 70% chances in southern to central Queensland. So in years with ocean patterns like the current, about six or seven September quarters out of every ten are expected to be warmer than average in these parts of Australia, with about three or four out of ten being cooler.

Outlook confidence is related to how consistently the Pacific and Indian Oceans affect Australian temperatures. During July to September, history shows this effect on maximum temperatures to be moderately consistent in the NT, Queensland, northern NSW, and the far north of SA (see background information).

Average seasonal minimum temperatures are favoured to be warmer than normal across southern Queensland and northern New South Wales, with probabilities in the 60 to 65% range (see map). In remaining areas the probabilities are in the neutral 50 to 60% range.

History shows the oceans' effect on minimum temperatures in July to September to be moderately consistent over Queensland, the east of the NT, far northeast SA and northern NSW. Elsewhere the effect is only weakly or very weakly consistent.

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.

 

More information on this outlook is available Monday to Friday by contacting the Bureau's Climate Services sections in Queensland and the Northern Territory at the following numbers:

Brisbane -(07) 3239 8660 from 9.00am to 5.00pm (EST)
Darwin -(08) 8920 3813 from 9.00am to 5.00pm (CST)
 

THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE SEASONAL OUTLOOK IS EXPECTED BY 24th JULY 2007

Corresponding rainfall outlook

Maximum temperature departures from average for March to May 2007 - base period 1961-1990

Minimum temperature departures from average for March to May 2007 - base period 1961-1990

 

Background Information

  • The Bureau's seasonal outlooks are general statements about the probability or risk of wetter or drier than average weather over a three-month period. The outlooks are based on the statistics of chance (the odds) taken from Australian rainfall/temperatures and sea surface temperature records for the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans. They are not, however, categorical predictions about future rainfall, and they are not about rainfall within individual months of the three-month outlook period. The temperature outlooks are for the average maximum and minimum temperatures for the entire three-month outlook period. Information about whether individual days or weeks may be unusually hot or cold, is unavailable.

  • This outlook is a summary. More detail is available from the contact people or from SILO (www.bom.gov.au/silo/products/SClimate.shtml).

  • Probability outlooks should not be used as if they were categorical forecasts. More on probabilities is contained in the booklet The Seasonal Climate Outlook - What it is and how to use it, available from the National Climate Centre. These outlooks should be used as a tool in risk management and decision making. The benefits accrue from long-term use, say over 10 years. At any given time, the probabilities may seem inaccurate, but taken over several years, the advantages of taking account of the risks should outweigh the disadvantages. For more information on the use of probabilities, farmers could contact their local departments of agriculture or primary industry.

  • Model Consistency and Outlook Confidence: Strong consistency means that tests of the model on historical data show a high correlation between the most likely outlook category (above/below median) and the verifying observation (above/below median). In this situation relatively high confidence can be placed in the outlook probabilities. Low consistency means the historical relationship, and therefore outlook confidence, is weak. In the places and seasons where the outlooks are most skilful, the category of the eventual outcome (above or below median) is consistent with the category favoured in the outlook about 75% of the time. In the least skilful areas, the outlooks perform no better than random chance or guessing. The rainfall outlooks perform best in eastern and northern Australia between July and January, but are less useful in autumn and in the west of the continent. The skill at predicting seasonal maximum temperature peaks in early winter and drops off marginally during the second half of the year. The lowest point in skill occurs in early autumn. The skill at predicting seasonal minimum temperature peaks in late autumn and again in mid-spring. There are also two distinct periods when the skill is lowest - namely late summer and mid-winter. However, it must always be remembered that the outlooks are statements of chance or risk. For example, if you were told there was a 50:50 chance of a horse winning a race but it ran second, the original assessment of a 50:50 chance could still have been correct.

  • The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is calculated using the barometric pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin. The SOI is one indicator of the stage of El Niño or La Niña events in the tropical Pacific Ocean. It is best considered in conjunction with sea-surface temperatures, which form the basis of the outlooks. A moderate to strongly negative SOI (persistently below –10) is usually characteristic of El Niño, which is often associated with below average rainfall over eastern Australia, and a weaker than normal monsoon in the north. A moderate to strongly positive SOI (persistently above +10) is usually characteristic of La Niña, which is often associated with above average rainfall over parts of tropical and eastern Australia, and an earlier than normal start to the northern monsoon season. The Australian impacts of 23 El Niño events since 1900 are summarized on the Bureau's web site (www.bom.gov.au/climate/enso/).