Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: February–April 2016

  • Low streamflows more likely for February–April
  • Low flows observed at almost half of locations in January
  • El Niño in the Pacific Ocean is on a gradual decline. Indian Ocean remains very warm and may provide extra moisture for rain.

Streamflow forecast for February–April

For February to April 2016, low streamflows are more likely to occur at 52 locations across Australia. Near-median flows are more likely at 32 locations and high flows at 21. High forecast skill is mostly confined to southern Australia, while very low, low and moderate skill forecasts are scattered across northern Australia, along the eastern seaboard and across Tasmania.

Due to very low model skill or missing observed data, forecasts have not been issued at 35 locations. We suggest using the historical climatology for these locations. We have added another 15 locations (in Victoria and New South Wales) to the registered user Seasonal Streamflow Forecasting service, taking the number of forecast locations to 242.

Use the map below to zoom and pan to view the forecast locations. Zoom in to view pie chart tercile forecasts, and then click on a pie chart to go directly to the latest forecast.

Note: The locations on the map are either site-based forecasts or total catchment inflow forecasts. Site information provides details on which locations are site-based or total inflow forecasts. For more details about how the pie chart forecasts are displayed go to the Frequently Asked Questions.

New information video

Outlook video

  • Legend image demonstrating moderate to high skill

    Moderate to high skill

  • Legend image demonstrating low skill

    Low skill or missing climate data

  • Legend image demonstrating very low skill

    Very low skill or missing antecedent condition data

January catchment conditions

Low January flows were recorded at 66 out of 140 locations across Australia, predominantly in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. Near-median flows were recorded at 38 locations scattered across the continent, while high flows were recorded at 31 locations, mainly in southwestern Western Australia, eastern Tasmania and scattered along the eastern seaboard.

January rainfall was 16% below the long-term average across Australia. Rainfall totals 56% above average were observed in Victoria, while in Tasmania and NSW falls were 27% and 25% above average respectively. In contrast, rainfall was 40% and 33% below average in Northern Territory and Queensland respectively. In the remaining States, rainfall was within ~15% of the long-term mean—above in Western Australia and below in South Australia.

Potential evaporation was below or very much below average for most of mainland Australia, but average to above average in northern parts of Queensland and Northern Territory, and most of Tasmania. Below-average actual evapotranspiration in southern Victoria, coastal Queensland and Tasmania coincides with limited water availability. In most other areas, rainfall has contributed to wetter soils.

Modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10–100cm) is average to above average across most states except Tasmania. It is still below to very much below average in Tasmania, southern Victoria and small patches in other States.

For more details, read our Monthly Climate Summary.

Climate influences

Indian Ocean temperatures have remained warmer than average through 2015 and early 2016, and may provide extra moisture for rain systems across Australia.

A strong El Niño in the tropical Pacific Ocean is currently in decline. El Niño's influence on Australian rainfall is variable at this time of year, with both wetter and drier summers observed in the past depending on how quickly the event breaks down. Models suggest that the current El Niño will continue to decline through early 2016. Our understanding ENSO video provides more information on how El Niño impacts our climate and weather.

Get the latest El Niño update in our fortnightly ENSO Wrap-Up. Find out about likely seasonal rainfall conditions in our current Rainfall outlook. For a range of other detailed information on Australia's climate go to Climate Information.

New streamflow forecasting service

The Bureau now also delivers 7-day streamflow forecasts for more than 100 sites around Australia.

Combining near real-time rainfall and streamflow observations with rainfall forecasts, we calculate how much runoff is likely, and flow of this water down the stream network. A forecast is generated for each of the next seven days. Access the 7-day streamflow forecasts.

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