Climate outlook for October to January

Climate outlook overview

  • Rainfall is likely to be below average across most of the country for the remainder of 2019 (October to December).
  • Day temperatures are very likely to be above average across the Australian mainland, with neutral odds for most of Tasmania.
  • An extended warm spell is expected during September, with weekly temperatures likely to be 2-3 degrees above average across central and eastern Australia.
  • Nights are likely to be cooler than average in the southeast during October, meaning there may be an increased risk of frost in susceptible areas.
  • Further north, nights are likely to be warmer than average, particularly when averaged over the three months, October to December.
  • A positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is likely to remain the dominant climate driver for Australia for the coming months.
  • It is also likely that an unusually prolonged period of negative SAM (Southern Annular Mode) may intensify impacts in parts of eastern Australia.

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Drier than average conditions likely to see out 2019

  • Rainfall for the remainder of 2019 (October to December) is likely to be below average across much of Australia.
  • There is little shift in the odds towards a wetter or drier than average three months in northern WA and western Tasmania. 
  • The November 2019 to January 2020 outlook suggests the dry signal may be weakening heading into summer, in line with the expected dissipation of the positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). 
  • A positive IOD is typically associated with below average spring rainfall in Australia. It has less influence during the summer months. 
  • Weather systems are also expected to sit further north than usual for much of the coming 3-months, which in spring often brings drier conditions to parts of NSW and Queensland.

Warmer end to the year likely

  • Daytime temperatures are likely to be warmer than average for most of Australia for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020.
  • The exception is western Tasmania, where neutral odds indicate little shift towards either a warmer or cooler than average period.
  • An extended warm spell is expected during September, with weekly temperatures likely to be 2-3 degrees above average across central and eastern Australia.
  • Nights are likely to be cooler than average in the southeast during October, meaning there may be an increased risk of late-season frost in susceptible areas.
  • Further north, warmer than average nights are expected, particularly when averaged for October to December.
  • In the shorter-term cooler nights are likely in mid-September for the tropical north.

Climate influences

  • A positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is underway and forecast to continue until the end of spring. Typically, this means below average rainfall for much of central and southern Australia during winter-spring, and warmer than average temperatures; consistent with the current outlook. 
  • IOD events typically have little influence on Australian climate from December to April, meaning the strong dry signal should start to weaken.
  • A negative SAM (Southern Annular Mode) is expected to persist for much of the period, with stronger negative values in September. A negative SAM in spring often brings warmer and drier conditions to parts of eastern Australia.
  • Pressure patterns over the Tasman Sea during September and October are favouring a reduction in onshore flow for the Australian east coast, also contributing to the warm and dry outlook for NSW and southern Queensland.
  • The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is expected to remain neutral for the remainder of 2019.
  • 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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