Rainfall and temperature outlooks

Climate outlook for February to May

Climate outlook overview

  • The chances of a wetter or drier than average February to April are roughly equal for most of Australia, however, scattered parts of eastern Australia have a slightly increased chance of being drier than average. 
  • Daytime temperatures for February to April are likely to be above average across almost all of Australia except  parts of the southwest and southern Tasmania. 
  • February to April nights are very likely to be warmer than average for most of the country.
  • Most climate influences are neutral, however, the long-term warming trend coupled with warm and dry soils are keeping temperature outlooks warmer than average. 

Drier than average for parts of the east

  • For 27 January to 2 February, a drier than average week is likely across western and southern Australia, while parts of the Queensland coast is likely to be wetter than average.
  • February to April has roughly equal chances of being wetter or drier than average for most of Australia. This means there is no strong shift towards wetter or drier than average conditions for the coming three months for most of the country. Some parts of the east, including scattered areas across Queensland, NSW and the southern NT are slightly more likely to be drier than average.
  • Recent rainfall has been beneficial for some areas. However, while outlooks for drier than average conditions have eased compared to those issued for late 2019, several months of above average rainfall are needed to see a recovery from current long-term rainfall deficiencies.

Warmer days and nights likely for February to April

  • Daytime temperatures for February to April are likely to be warmer than average for almost all of Australia, with very high chances across northern and eastern mainland Australia. March to May is also likely to be warmer than average for most of the country.
  • Warmer nights are likely almost nationwide for February to April, with very high chances (greater than 80% chance) for most areas except parts of the southeast. March to May nights are also likely to be warmer than average nationwide.
  • With warmer days and nights likely for the coming months, there still remains a possibility of heatwaves.

Climate influences

  • The positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which contributed to dry conditions across much of Australia during the second half of 2019, ended in late December. Likewise, the negative phase of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) has also weakened recently, with forecasts of SAM now fluctuating around the neutral range.
  • With the easing of these two major drying influences, the likelihood of drier conditions has weakened compared to outlooks issued in late 2019. Outlooks broadly indicate equal chances of wetter or drier conditions, with no widespread or significant shift towards being wetter or drier than average. However, it is seasonally the hottest time of year for southern Australia, which can intensify the effect of a generally dry landscape.
  • While tropical Pacific Ocean temperatures are likely to stay warmer than average, the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is forecast to remain neutral until at least the end of the southern hemisphere autumn and therefore have a limited influence on Australian climate.
  • Abnormally warm sea surface temperatures in the western tropical Pacific Ocean and to the west of Australia may be contributing to some changes in weather patterns over the continent, while warm and dry soils—a legacy of Australia's warmest and driest year on record in 2019—are helping to keep temperatures warmer than average.
  • In addition to the natural drivers such as ENSO and the IOD, Australian climate patterns are being influenced by the long-term increasing trend in global air and ocean temperatures.

Product code: IDCKOATCO2

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