Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: July–September 2017

  • Low streamflows more likely for July to September
  • Low flows observed at almost two-thirds of locations in June
  • ENSO Outlook returns to INACTIVE; ENSO and IOD currently neutral
  • Twenty new forecast locations released: Northern Territory (6) and Queensland (14)

Streamflow forecast for July–September

For July–September 2017, low streamflows are more likely at 89 locations across Australia, mostly along the east coast and in the south. Near-median and high flows are expected at 44 and 25 locations respectively. For this time of year, there is high and moderate forecast skill at 68 and 59 locations respectively while 37 locations have low forecast skill. Forecasts have not been issued for 23 locations due to very low model skill or missing observed data. We suggest using the observed climatology for these locations.

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.

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

June catchment conditions

June rainfall was 62% below the long-term average across Australia, and lowest on record for much of Victoria, adjacent inland southern New South Wales, the western part of Western Australia, and eastern Tasmania. Central Queensland also had well below average rainfall. The only areas with significantly above-average rainfall were on the east coast between Sydney and Brisbane. Unseasonably high rainfall also meant June averages were exceeded in parts of pastoral South Australia and interior Western Australia.

Modelled lower–layer soil moisture (10–100cm) was below average in western and southern Western Australia, southern parts of South Australia, southeastern Northern Territory, central and western Queensland, and adjacent inland areas of northern New South Wales.

Lower-layer soil moisture was above average in northern and eastern parts of Queensland, western Victoria, central South Australia, the far north of the Northern Territory, and inland Western Australia. Above-average evapotranspiration mostly coincided with areas of higher soil moisture, which are a potential water source for the atmosphere. Western Queensland, southeast Northern Territory and the west of Western Australia were dominated by below-average soil moisture, coinciding with below-average evapotranspiration.

For more details on June rainfall across Australia, read our Monthly Climate Summary. For more detailed information on June soil moisture and evapotranspiration across Australia, access the Australian Landscape Water Balance site.

Climate influences

The tropical Pacific Ocean remains El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral. Most climate models predict the Pacific is likely to remain ENSO-neutral for the remainder of 2017.

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is also neutral. However, some climate models suggest a positive IOD could develop in the coming months. A positive IOD is typically associated with below-average winter and spring rainfall over central and southern Australia.

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.

Service updates

The probability distribution graph has been replaced with a new boxplot. The boxplots provide an easier comparison between the probabilistic forecast and historical reference distributions.

In this release we have added six new locations in the Northern Territory and fourteen in Queensland.

7–day 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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