Cooler days and nights favoured for southeast Australia

Southeastern Aust Seasonal Temperature Outlook: probabilities for February to April 2013, issued 23rd January 2013

Cooler days and nights favoured for southeast Australia

The southeast Australian temperature outlook averaged over February to April 2013 shows that:

  • cooler days and nights are likely over a large region in the southeast of Australia

This outlook is a result of warmer than normal waters in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

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

The chances that the February to April maximum temperature will exceed the long-term median maximum temperature is between 35 and 40% over a large region across northwest and southern SA, Victoria, southwest NSW and parts of Tasmania (see map above). Such odds mean that for every ten years with similar oceans patterns to those currently observed, about four February to April periods would be expected to be warmer than average over these areas, while about six years would be cooler.

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

The chance that the average minimum temperature for February to April will exceed the long-term median minimum temperature is between 20 and 40% over most of southeastern Australia (see map above). Odds drop to between 20 and 25% across southeast SA, western Victoria and southwest NSW.

Outlook confidence is related to how consistently the Pacific and Indian Oceans affect Australian temperatures. During February to April, history shows the effect on maximum temperatures to be moderately consistent over northeastern NSW, southern SA, and most of Tasmania and Victoria, but only weakly to very weakly consistent elsewhere (see background information).

The effect on minimum temperatures during this season is moderately consistent over the southern half of SA, parts of western and southeast NSW, western Victoria and Tasmania. Skill is only weakly to very weakly consistent over the northern half of SA, central and northeast NSW and central Victoria. Users should exercise caustion when using this outlook in these areas of low skill.

 

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 from 9.00am to 5.00pm local time by contacting the Bureau's Climate Services sections in Queensland, NSW, SA, Victoria and Tasmania at the following numbers:

Sydney -(02) 9296 1555
Adelaide -(08) 8366 2664
Melbourne -(03) 9669 4949
Hobart -(03) 6221 2043

 

THE NEXT ISSUE OF THE SEASONAL OUTLOOK IS EXPECTED BY 20th February 2013

Corresponding rainfall outlook

Maximum temperature departures from average for October to December 2012 - base period 1961-1990

Minimum temperature departures from average for October to December 2012 - 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.

  • Probability outlooks should not be used as if they were categorical forecasts. 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 past El Niño events since 1900 are summarized on the Bureau's web site (El Niño - Detailed Australian Analysis), and past La Niña events (La Niña - Detailed Australian Analysis)

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