Winter 1996

A negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event occurred during winter 1996 when sea surface temperatures (SST) south west of Indonesia were very much above average. On the other side of the tropical Indian Ocean, SSTs off the Horn of Africa were closer to average. The SST deciles map illustrates the east-west difference in SSTs at the time.

Sea surface temperature anomalie map of the Indian Ocean for winter 1996

The rainfall deciles map shows the event impacted most of southern Australia. Winter rainfall was above average to very much above average (in the top 10% of the historic record) for most of the mainland's southern half. Even though overall rainfall for southern Australia was above average, there were still pockets of below average rainfall. Winter 1996 still ranks as southern Australia's eighth wettest winter. 1996 was an ENSO neutral year while most of the top ten wettest winters for southern Australia coincide with La Niña events.

Rainfall deciles map for winter 1996

Maximum temperatures for northern Australia ranged from above average to highest on record. For maximum temperatures, winter 1996 still ranks as the second warmest winter on record for northern Australia, and the warmest on record for the Northern Territory.

Maximum temperature deciles map for winter 1996

Warmer than average overnight temperatures were experienced across most of the country, as shown in the minimum temperature deciles map. The IOD is primarily responsible for Australia recording its second warmest winter on record for overnight temperatures in 1996.

Minimum temperature deciles map for winter 1996