Western Australian temperature outlook

Issued 22 May 2013

Warmer season more likely for western and far northern WA

Text details of chance of warmer maximum and minimum temperatures

Summary

  • Warmer than normal days are more likely over western and far northern WA, with cooler days more likely in southeastern WA
  • Warmer than normal nights are more likely over western, southern and northern WA
  • Climate influences include a warmer than normal eastern Indian Ocean, a neutral tropical Pacific, and warm local sea surface temperatures
  • Skill for maximum temperatures is moderate near the west and south coasts, and in northeast WA, whilst skill for minimum temperatures is moderate over most of WA.
Probability of exceeding median maximum temperature, large image Probability of exceeding median minimum temperature, large image

Details

The chance that the winter maximum temperature will exceed the long-term median maximum temperature is above 60% over western and far north WA (see map above). Probabilities exceed 80% in a small area of southwest WA. Such odds mean that for every ten years with similar climate patterns to those currently observed, about six to eight years would be expected to be warmer than average over these areas, while about two to four years would be cooler.

Conversely, there is a 35 to 40% chance of warmer than normal days over southeastern WA. In other words, there is a 60 to 65% chance of cooler than normal days over this area.

The chance that the average minimum temperature for winter will exceed the long-term median minimum temperature is 60 to 75% over western, southern, and northern WA. Probabilities exceed 80% over the southwest corner of WA.

Over inland central and eastern parts of the state, the chances of warmer or cooler night-time temperatures are roughly equal.

Climate influences

The tropical Pacific has remained ENSO-neutral since mid-2012. Climate models surveyed by the Bureau of Meteorology suggest sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean are likely to sit on the cool side of neutral during winter 2013.

Four of five international models surveyed by the Bureau favour the development of a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event during winter-spring 2013. A negative IOD during winter-spring increases the chances of above normal rainfall, and thus cloud amount, over southern Australia. Increased cloudiness reduces sunshine hours, and hence daytime temperatures, over inland Australia.

Warmer than normal ocean surface temperatures currently surround much of the continent. Warmer ocean temperatures will tend to influence air temperatures in those areas closer to the coast.

How accurate is the outlook?

Outlook confidence is related to how consistently the oceans and broadscale climate affect Australian temperatures. During winter, model accuracy shows the outlook for maximum temperatures to be moderately consistent over the west coast, south coast and northeast WA. Elsewhere, the effect is only weakly to very weakly consistent.

The effect on minimum temperatures during this season is moderately consistent over most of WA.