Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: September–November 2016

  • High streamflows more likely for September–November
  • Near median and high flows observed at more than 80% of locations in August
  • La Niña WATCH and weakening negative Indian Ocean Dipole

Streamflow forecast for September–November

For September to November 2016, high streamflows are more likely at 81 locations across Australia. Near median and low flows are expected at 38 and 16 locations, respectively. More than three-quarters of locations across Australia have moderate to high forecast skill for this time of year. Locations with high skill are generally scattered across the country with the main concentration in the southeast of the mainland, while many locations in the southern half of the country have moderate skill. Forecasts have not been issued for 14 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

August catchment conditions

August 2016 was wetter than average over most of Australia. The Northern Territory, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales had much higher than average rainfall. Daily rainfall records were broken at some locations in northeastern New South Wales due to an East Coast Low impacting the region early in the month. There was slightly below average rainfall across Victoria and Tasmania as a whole, with the greatest deficiencies in the eastern parts of these States.

As a result of the recent rainfall, the August modelled lower–layer soil moisture (10–100cm) was average to very much above average across most of the country. This coincided with average to very much above average actual evapotranspiration, resulting from the increased water availability and average to above average temperatures. The rain and wetter soils led to greater runoff, and consequently near median and high observed streamflows in August at most forecast locations across Australia.

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

Climate influences

A negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) persists in the Indian Ocean though has weakened over the past couple of months. Climate models predict that the negative IOD pattern will continue to weaken through spring, and therefore have less influence on spring rainfall. A negative IOD typically brings above average rainfall to southern Australia during winter–spring. Find out more about the Indian Ocean Dipole.

Conditions from the tropical Pacific Ocean indicate little or no coupling between atmosphere and ocean, and cool sub–surface temperatures have become more normal. The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is neutral, though a La Niña WATCH remains with international climate models suggesting a weak La Niña is possible in 2016. Typically during La Niña, winter–spring rainfall is above average over northern, central and eastern Australia. Our understanding ENSO and understanding the IOD videos provide more information on how El Niño, La Niña and the Indian Ocean Dipole impact 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.

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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