Climate outlook for November to January

Climate outlook overview

  • The November to January climate outlook, issued 25 October 2018, indicates large parts of Australia are likely to be drier than average.
  • November, in particular, is likely to be drier than average in many areas. However, areas to the east of the Great Dividing Range show no strong indication of either a wetter or drier month.
  • November to January days are very likely to be warmer than average for most of Australia. Nights are also likely to be warmer than average, except for areas surrounding the Great Australian Bight.
  • A drier and warmer than average three months would mean a low chance of recovery for drought-affected areas of eastern Australia.
  • Current observations and model outlooks indicate the chance of El Niño has increased and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole is likely underway. See the Climate Influences section for more information.

A drier three months likely for large parts of Australia

  • November to January is likely to be drier than average for large parts of Australia. However, most of the northern tropics and eastern NSW have roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier three months, i.e., no strong push towards a wetter or drier season ahead.
  • Most of Australia is likely to have a drier than average November. However, areas to the east of the Great Dividing Range have roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than average month.
  • Much of eastern and southern mainland Australia has been very dry and warm since the start of the year. The November to January outlook indicates many drought-affected areas are not favoured to see significant drought-breaking rains in the coming three months.
  • Historical outlook accuracy for November to January is moderate to high across with patches of low to very low accuracy in the NT, inland WA and northeast NSW. See map for more detail.

Warmer days for Australia likely to continue

  • Above-average daytime temperatures observed across Australia during 2018 are likely to continue into early 2019.
  • November to January days are very likely to be warmer than average for most of Australia. Chances of a warmer three months are greater than 80% over most of the mainland.
  • Nights are also likely to be warmer than average across Australia, except for southeast WA, southern SA and western Victoria, where the chances of warmer or cooler nights are roughly equal.
  • Historical accuracy for November to January maximum temperatures is moderate to high across most of Australia, but low in northern interior WA and the southern NT. Minimum temperature accuracy is moderate to high for most of Australia, except northern WA, the central NT, and central to northern parts of Queensland where accuracy is low to very low.

Climate influences

  • The tropical Pacific Ocean has been warming in recent weeks. The Bureau's model indicates this warming will continue, with El Niño likely to develop before the end of the year. El Niño typically results in below-average spring rainfall for northern and eastern Australia, and warmer days for the southern two-thirds of the country. By summer, the rainfall influence from El Niño contracts to the tropical north, while warmer days remain likely for large parts of the country.
  • It is likely that a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event is underway, as 5 of the past 6 weeks have exceeded positive IOD thresholds. The Bureau's model suggests positive IOD values will continue through October and return to neutral during November. A positive IOD typically decays in late spring or early summer. A positive IOD during spring typically reduces rainfall across much of the eastern two-thirds of Australia and can exacerbate any El Niño-driven rainfall deficiencies. During December to April, the IOD typically has little effect on Australian climate.
  • Across northern Australian waters, sea surface temperatures have been average to cooler than average in recent months. This can lead to reduced rainfall as less atmospheric moisture is available for rain-bearing weather systems which move over the continent.
  • In addition to the natural drivers such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the IOD, Australian climate patterns are being influenced by the long-term increasing trend in global air and ocean temperatures.
  • Bureau climatologists continually monitor the climate for any significant developments, with information on El Niño/La Niña and IOD events available fortnightly via the ENSO Wrap-Up. For a summary of Pacific and Indian Ocean outlooks, please see the Climate Model Summary.

Product code: IDCKOATCO2

REGIONAL MAPS: Select and view or download the latest outlook