Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: January–March 2017

  • Near-median streamflows more likely for January–March
  • Low to near-median flows observed at 78% of locations in December
  • El Niño–Southern Oscillation remains neutral

Streamflow forecast for January–March

For January–March 2017, near-median streamflows are more likely at 65 locations across Australia. Low and high flows are each expected at 27 locations. About half of locations have moderate to high forecast skill for this time of year, these are mostly in the southern part of the country. Forecasts have not been issued for 42 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

December catchment conditions

Near-median and low streamflows were recorded at 75 and 50 locations respectively, scattered across the continent. High flows were recorded at 33 locations, mainly in the Northern Territory, northern Western Australia and Tasmania.

Total Australian rainfall for December was the fifth wettest on record. South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory all recorded area-averaged rainfall totals of more than twice their respective monthly mean, whereas Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria recorded below-average State-based totals. Rainfall for Tasmania was close to average.

Actual evapotranspiration was above average for large areas of the country, primarily due to increased water availability from recent high rainfalls. This rainfall also led to an increase in the modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10–100cm) across parts of northern and central Australia.

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

Climate influences

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral—neither El Niño nor La Niña. All but one of the climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate neutral conditions are likely to persist until at least early in the southern autumn. When ENSO is neutral, weather patterns over the Pacific region are typically close to average. This means there is a lower likelihood that eastern Australia's climate will be considerably wetter or drier than normal.

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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