Climate outlook for October to December

Climate outlook overview

  • The October to December climate outlook, issued 13 September 2018, indicates large parts of Australia are likely to be drier than average.
  • October shows a strong likelihood of drier conditions across most of the country. However, the outlook for the eastern seaboard is different, with no strong indication of either a wetter or drier month.
  • October to December days and nights are likely to be warmer than average for all of Australia.
  • A drier and warmer-than-average end to the year would mean a low chance of recovery for drought-affected areas of eastern Australia.
  • The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are currently neutral. However, current observations and model outlooks indicate El Niño and a positive IOD could develop in spring. See the Climate Influences section for more information. 

A drier end to the year likely for large parts of Australia

  • October to December is likely to be drier than average for large parts of Australia. Specifically, southwest WA, large parts of the NT and central Queensland, eastern SA, Tasmania, Victoria and areas inland of the Great Dividing Range in NSW are likely to have a drier than average October to December.
  • October is likely to be drier than average in the NT, Queensland, southwest WA, southeast SA, and the western and central parts of NSW, Victoria and Tasmania. However, the outlook for the eastern sea board has equal chances of a wetter or drier three months—a pattern fairly typical of El Niño periods.
  • Much of eastern and southern mainland Australia have been very dry and warm since the start of the year. This pattern continued during winter. The October to December outlook indicates current drought areas are unlikely to see significant respite in the coming three months.
  • Historical outlook accuracy for October to December is moderate to high over most of the country, except for southwestern and interior WA, and parts of southeast SA where accuracy is low to very low. See map for more detail.

Warmer end to the year likely for Australia

  • The above-average daytime temperatures that have occurred across Australia so far in 2018 are likely to continue for the remainder of the year.
  • October to December days are very likely to be warmer than average for most of Australia. Chances are greater than 80% over most of the western half of the country, the tropical north, and an area along the NSW-Victorian border.
  • Nights are also likely to be warmer than average across Australia.
  • Historical accuracy for October to December maximum temperatures is moderate to high across Australia. Minimum temperature accuracy is moderate for most areas, except northern and central WA, southern parts of the NT, central parts of Queensland, western NSW and southeast SA where accuracy is low to very low.

Climate influences

  • The El Niño-Southern Oscillation is currently neutral, but El Niño may develop by late spring. 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 drying rainfall influence from El Niño contracts to the tropical north.
  • Similarly the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is also neutral. Outlooks suggest a positive IOD event may form around mid-spring. A positive IOD during spring typically reduces rainfall in central and southern Australia and can exacerbate any El Niño-driven rainfall deficiencies. However, IOD events usually decay by the start of summer.
  • Sea surface temperatures to Australia's northwest are average to cooler than average, which is likely acting to suppress rainfall patterns over southern and central Australia.
  • 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.

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