Rainfall and temperature long-range forecasts

Climate outlook for May to August

Long-range forecast overview

  • For most of Australia, May to July has a roughly equal chance of above or below median rainfall, with the chance of unusually high or low rainfall also being close to average (between 10 to 30%).
  • May to July rainfall is likely to very likely to be below median for parts of northern Australia and small areas of southern Australia. Above median rainfall is likely for parts of western WA, northern SA, south-western and north-eastern Queensland.
  • There is an increased likelihood of unusually high May to July maximum and minimum temperatures for most of Australia.

Rainfall—Summary

Below median May rainfall likely for most of Australia

  • Rainfall for May is likely to very likely (60% to greater than 80% chance) to be below median for most of southern, central and north-western Australia.
  • For May, parts of the southern mainland and northern Tasmania have a 30 to 40% chance of unusually low rainfall. Chances of unusually low rainfall increase to over 50% for parts of northern Australia however May is the beginning of the dry season in northern Australia.
  • During May there is a roughly equal chance of above or below median rainfall in much of eastern Queensland and NSW, southern Victoria and an area north of Perth in WA.

Close to equal chance of above or below median May to July rainfall likely for most of Australia

  • For most of Australia, May to July rainfall has a roughly equal chance of above or below median rainfall. The chance of unusually high or low rainfall remains close to average (between 10 to 30%).
  • In particular, most of Queensland, southern and western WA and areas east of the Great Dividing Range, southern Victoria and southern Tasmania have a close to equal chance of above or below median rainfall.
  • Rainfall for May to July is likely to be below median for parts of the north and small areas of the southern mainland; however for most of northern Australia rainfall is typically low at this time of year, with median rainfall less than 10 mm for the 3 months.
  • Some small coastal areas of the Gascoyne in WA and the North Tropical Coast in Queensland have a 60 to 70% chance of being above median.
  • There is a 30 to 40% chance of unusually low rainfall for much of Tasmania.

Temperature—Summary

Warmer May days likely to very likely for much of Australia

  • For May, forecast maximum temperatures are likely to very likely (60% to greater than 80% chance) to be above median for most of Australia.
  • Exceptions are possible in parts of NT and Queensland, where the chance of above or below median temperatures is close to equal.
  • For May, the western two-thirds of WA and central coastal regions of Queensland are forecast to have an increased likelihood of unusually high maximum temperatures. Unusually high maximum temperatures are defined as the warmest 20% of May days from 1981 to 2018.
  • For May, forecast minimum temperatures are likely to very likely (60% to greater than 80% chance) to be above median for most of WA, Tasmania, the northern two-thirds of the NT, most of Queensland, eastern NSW, and most of Victoria.
  • For May, there is an increased likelihood of unusually high minimum temperatures for western and south-western WA, and parts of northern Queensland. Unusually high minimum temperatures are defined as the warmest 20% of May nights from 1981 to 2018.

Warmer May to July days and nights likely to very likely for much of Australia

  • For May to July, forecast maximum temperatures are likely to very likely to be above median (60% to greater than 80% chance) for Australia.
  • For May to July, much of Australia (except parts of northern NT, northern and southern Queensland, and inland NSW) has an increased likelihood of unusually high maximum temperatures. Unusually high maximum temperatures are defined as the warmest 20% of May to July days from 1981 to 2018.
  • For May to July, forecast minimum temperatures are likely to very likely (60% to greater than 80% chance) to be above median for most of Australia.
  • For May to July, much of Australia (except southern NT, northern and eastern SA, and western NSW) has an increased chance of unusually high minimum temperatures. Unusually high minimum temperatures are defined as the warmest 20% of May to July nights from 1981 to 2018.

Climate influences

The Bureau's climate model simulates the physics of atmospheric, oceanic, ice and land surface processes, and uses millions of observations from satellites as well as in-situ instrumentation on land and at sea. These simulations enable the model to account for the influence of climate change and natural climate factors like ENSO, IOD, the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) and SAM in its long-range forecasts.

The following climate factors are presented for general information:

  • Global sea surface temperatures (SSTs) have been the warmest on record for each month between April 2023 and March 2024, with April 2024 SSTs currently tracking warmer than April 2023. Notably, the Atlantic Ocean is showing exceptional and prolonged warmth in sea surface temperatures.
  • Although the most recent value of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) index (+0.57 °C) is above the positive IOD threshold, the IOD is neutral. Despite the positive IOD values being mostly from record warmth in the north-west Indian Ocean, atmospheric indicators in the eastern Indian Ocean may be consistent with a developing positive IOD.
  • The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is neutral. Climate models indicate ENSO will likely continue to be neutral until at least July 2024.
  • Global sea surface temperatures (SSTs) have been the warmest on record for each month between April 2023 and March 2024, with April 2024 SSTs currently tracking warmer than April 2023. Notably, the Atlantic Ocean is showing exceptional and prolonged warmth in sea surface temperatures.

Australia's climate has warmed by 1.50 ± 0.23°C between 1910 and 2023, leading to an increase in the frequency of extreme heat events. In recent decades, there has been a shift to drier conditions across the south-west and south-east in the cooler season (April to October), due to a combination of natural variability on decadal timescales and changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation caused by an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Product code: IDCKOATCO2

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