Climate outlook for May to July

Climate outlook overview

  • The climate outlook, issued 26 April 2019, indicates May is likely to be drier than average for much of eastern Australia, west of the Great Dividing Range. 
  • However, for the three months from May to July, eastern and southern Australia show no strong tendency towards above or below average rainfall. While a wetter than average three months is likely for large parts of northwestern and central Australia, many of these areas typically receive little or no rainfall at this time of the year, meaning only a small amount of rainfall is needed to exceed the median. 
  • Warmer than average days and nights during May to July are very likely (greater than 80% chance) for large parts of northern and eastern Australia, with chances reducing in the southwest.
  • The Bureau's climate model suggests a short-lived El Niño may develop in the coming months. If El Niño does develop, it would increase the chances of drier conditions in the east.

Drier May in the east, wetter May–July for western and central Australia

  • May is likely to be drier than average in eastern SA, Victoria, northern and eastern Tasmania, and both NSW and southern Queensland to the west of the Great Dividing Range. Conversely, much of Far North Queensland's east coast and Arnhem Land in the NT are likely to have a wetter than average month. 
  • While May is likely to be drier, the three months from May to July show most of eastern and southern Australia have no strong tendency towards above or below average rainfall. A wetter than average three months is likely for large parts of northwestern and central Australia, but many of these areas typically receive little or no rainfall at this time of the year, meaning only a small amount of rainfall is needed to exceed the median.
  • Historical outlook accuracy for May to July is moderate to high for most of the country but low across southeast Queensland and northern NSW, and southern SA. See map for details.

Warmer than average days and nights likely for most of Australia

  • Warmer than average days are likely for most of Australia for May to July, except in the southwest. For northern and eastern Australia, the chances of being warmer than average are very high; greater than 80%. 
  • Nights are also likely to be warmer than average overall, however, the forecast for drier than average conditions could bring more cloud-free nights, increasing the risk of frost in susceptible areas.
  • Historical accuracy for May to July maximum temperatures is moderate to high across most of Australia. Minimum temperature accuracy is moderate for the northern half of the country and Tasmania, and low to very low elsewhere. See map for more details.

Climate influences

  • The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently neutral, but the Bureau's climate model suggests a short-lived El Niño may develop in the coming months. Eastern Australia typically experiences below average winter-spring rainfall during El Niño.
  • The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is forecast to remain neutral through the forecast period. This means the IOD has little influence on this outlook.
  • The Bureau's climate model also indicates that higher than average pressure is likely over much of eastern Australia, particularly during May. This increases the chance of clear skies, and hence dry and warm weather over eastern Australia. This higher pressure is also directing more easterly flow over the far north coast of Queensland, which is likely to be contributing to the wetter than average outlook for this region.   
  • 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.

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