Northern Australian temperature outlook

Issued 25 September 2013

Warmer days and nights more likely for most of northern Australia

Text details of chance of warmer maximum and minimum temperatures

Summary

  • Warmer days and nights are more likely over most of northern Australia with lowest odds for days being in western NT, and nights for northern coastal Queensland and southwest NT
  • Climate influences include a neutral Indian Ocean Dipole, a neutral tropical Pacific, and warm sea surface temperatures to the south and west of Australia
  • Outlook accuracy for maximum temperatures is moderate to high over most of northern Australia, with minimum temperature accuracy moderate over most of northern Australia, except for some regions in northwest and northeast NT, as well as southeast Queensland
Probability of exceeding median maximum temperature, larger view Probability of exceeding median minimum temperature, larger view

Details

The chances of the October to December maximum temperature exceeding the long-term median maximum temperature are greater than 60% over most of the north, excluding interior parts of the NT. Such odds mean that for every ten years with similar climate patterns to those currently observed, about six to seven October to December periods would be expected to be warmer than average over these areas, while about three to four years would be cooler.

The chance that the average minimum temperature for the October to December period will exceed the long-term median minimum temperature is in greater than 60% over most of the north, excluding southwest parts of the NT, and the northeast coast of Queensland.

Climate influences

The negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event that was influencing Australian climate through late autumn into winter has weakened over the past few weeks, with IOD-neutral values prevailing since early August. The majority of climate models indicate that the IOD will remain neutral through to the end of the year, suggesting that the 2013 negative-IOD is most likely at an end.

The tropical Pacific has remained ENSO-neutral since mid-2012. The dynamical seasonal outlook model suggests ENSO-neutral conditions will remain for the rest of 2013.

With the two main climate influences (ENSO and the IOD) likely to remain neutral (and hence have lesser influence upon Australia) over the coming months, secondary influences, such as warmer-than-normal oceans around the continent and a forecast for lower pressures over southeastern areas, are tending to drive the October-December Australian climate patterns.

How accurate is the outlook?

Outlook accuracy is related to how consistently the oceans and broadscale climate affect Australian temperatures. During the October to December period, historical accuracy shows the outlook for maximum temperatures to be moderate to highly consistent over most of the Northern Australia.

For minimum temperatures, historical accuracy is moderately consistent over most of Northern Australia, except for some regions in the nortwest and northeast NT as well as southeast Queensland where the affect is only weakly consistent.