Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: May–July 2017

  • High streamflows more likely for May to July
  • Near-median flows observed at 40% of locations in April, with roughly equal numbers of locations with high and low flows across remaining sites
  • El Niño WATCH in place, however ENSO and IOD are currently neutral

Streamflow forecast for May–July

For May–July 2017, high streamflows are more likely at 46 locations across Australia, mostly along the southeast coast and in the north. Near-median and low flows are expected at 31 and 29 locations respectively. Just over half of locations (88) across Australia have low to moderate forecast skill for this time of year, while 20 locations have high skill and are mostly in the north of the country. Forecasts have not been issued for 55 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

April catchment conditions

April rainfall was 17% below the long-term average across Australia. However, South Australia received double its average, with above-average falls also occurring across most of Victoria. Inland Western Australia, and both the northern tip and southwest corner of the Northern Territory, also received well above average rainfall. While most of Queensland, central Northern Territory, southwest Western Australia and western Tasmania received below-average rainfall.

Modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10–100cm) was above average along most of the east coast, with some moisture likely persisting from high March rainfall, given the average to below-average rainfall during April. Western Victoria, the north of Queensland and Northern Territory, and parts of inland Western Australia also had above-average soil moisture. Above-average evapotranspiration mostly coincided with the higher soil moisture areas, which are a potential water source for the atmosphere. Western Queensland and southeastern Northern Territory was dominated by below-average soil moisture, coinciding with below-average evapotranspiration. Near-median to high streamflows were generally in areas with average to above-average soil moisture—northern Australia, the southwest of Western Australia, and along the east coast where impacts from high March rainfall are likely to have persisted.

For more details on April rainfall across Australia, read our Monthly Climate Summary. For more detailed information on April 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; however, with the recent warming trend of its surface, the outlook is currently at El Niño WATCH. Most climate models predict the tropical Pacific Ocean may warm beyond El Niño thresholds in the second half of 2017. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral, with most models suggesting a positive IOD over winter.

A positive IOD occurring together with El Niño is often associated with drier than average conditions in winter and spring for eastern and central 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.

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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