Northern Australian temperature outlook

Issued 27 November 2013

Warmer summer days more likely for eastern Australia

Text details of chance of warmer maximum and minimum temperatures

Summary

  • Warmer days are more likely over most of eastern Queensland and the Top End of the NT
  • Warmer night-time temperatures are more likely over Queensland and the Top End of the NT
  • Climate influences include a neutral tropical Pacific and local sea surface temperature patterns
  • Outlook accuracy for maximum and minimum temperatures is generally moderate over most of northern Australia, with a few exceptions including over the central NT; see accuracy tab for more detail.
Probability of exceeding median maximum temperature, larger view Probability of exceeding median minimum temperature, larger view

Details

The chances of the summer maximum and minimum temperature exceeding the long-term median are greater than 60% over eastern Australia and the Top End of the NT (see map). Odds increase to greater than 70% over the Cape York Peninsula and southeast Queensland for both maximum and minimum temperatures. While warmer temperatures for these regions are not the only possible scenario for these regions, it is the most likely. The odds suggest that for every ten summer outlooks with odds similar to these, about six or seven of them would be expected to be warmer than average over these areas, while about three or four years would be cooler.

Climate influences

The tropical Pacific has remained ENSO-neutral since mid-2012. The dynamical seasonal outlook model suggests ENSO-neutral conditions will remain at least for the next three months. This means there is no strong shift in the odds from the tropical Pacific in this outlook.

With the main climate influences likely to remain neutral (and hence have lesser impact upon Australia) over the coming months, secondary influences, such as sea surface temperature patterns, persistent pressure systems, and changes in wind patterns around the Australian continent are tending to drive the Australian climate. While these shorter-term fluctuations are less predictable, the model still shows reasonable skill in seasonal temperature forecasts for most of northern Australia.

How accurate is the outlook?

Outlook accuracy is related to how consistently the oceans and broadscale climate affect Australian temperatures. During the December to February period, historical accuracy shows the outlook for maximum temperatures to be moderately consistent over most of northern Australia, except for the central NT which is only weakly consistent.

The effect on minimum temperatures during this season is moderately consistent over most of the north, excluding parts of the central NT, and parts of western Queensland, which are only very weakly consistent.