Climate outlook for November to February

Climate outlook overview

  • Rainfall is likely to be below average across most of the country, excluding northern WA, for the remainder of October and November. The dry outlook for southern and northeastern Australia continues into December.

  • Daytime temperatures are likely to be above average across Australia for the remainder of 2019 and into early 2020.

  • Nights are likely to be warmer than average for November in WA, the western NT, southern and western Queensland and eastern NSW. For December to February, nights are likely to be warmer than average nation-wide.

  • The strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is likely to remain the dominant climate driver for Australia until early summer.

Drier than average likely, but may start to ease in summer

  • Rainfall is likely to be below average for most of the country for the remainder of October and November.

  • However, northwest WA has roughly equal chances of being wetter or drier across most outlook periods, with a slightly increased chance of being wetter than average in December.

  • The drier outlook continues into December for southern Australia, eastern Queensland, far northeast NSW and much of the NT, with the remainder of the country having roughly equal chances of being wetter or drier than average.

  • While the outlooks for drier than average conditions ease in the coming months, it should be noted that this won't necessarily ease the current rainfall deficiencies. Several months of above average rainfall would be needed to see a recovery from current conditions.

Above average temperatures forecast to continue

  • Daytime temperatures are likely to be warmer than average across Australia for the remainder of 2019 and early 2020. For November to January, most of Australia has a greater than 80% chance of warmer than average days.

  • Nights are likely to be warmer than average for November in WA, the western NT, southern and western Queensland and eastern NSW. Elsewhere, chances of warmer or cooler nights are roughly equal.

  • December to February nights are likely to be warmer nationwide.

Climate influences

  • The latest value of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) (+2.15 °C) was the strongest weekly value since at least 2001, and possibly since 1997. The IOD is forecast to remain strongly positive until at least the end of spring.

  • Typically, this means below average rainfall for much of central and southern Australia during spring, and warmer than average temperatures for the southern two thirds of Australia. This is consistent with the current outlook.

  • IOD events typically have little influence on Australian climate from December to April, meaning its contribution to the drier outlook should start to reduce in early summer. This too is consistent with the outlooks beginning from December, which have fewer regions with drier conditions.

  • A weak negative phase of the Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is expected in the later part of October and into early November. A negative SAM in spring tends to bring drier conditions to parts of eastern Australia. It also increases the chance of spring heatwaves occurring across southern and eastern Australia.

  • Forecast warmer than average sea surface temperatures off the northern WA coast are likely contributing towards the increased chances of above average rainfall for northern WA.

  • The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is expected to remain neutral until at least early 2020.

  • 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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