Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: November 2017–January 2018

  • Low and near-median streamflows likely to dominate for November to January
  • Low and near-median flows observed at 76% of locations in October
  • El Niño–Southern Oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole remain neutral

Streamflow forecast for November–January

For November–January, low and near-median streamflows are more likely at 57 and 49 locations respectively across Australia. High flows are expected at 24 locations, mostly in northeastern Australia. Almost two-thirds of locations (113) have moderate to high forecast skill for this time of year, while 26 locations have low skill. High skill locations are predominantly in the south.

Forecasts have not been issued for 51 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

October catchment conditions

Low streamflows were recorded at 89 locations, mostly in the southern half of Australia. Near-median and high flows were recorded at 41 and 40 locations respectively across the country—with most high flows in the north and along the northeast coast.

October rainfall was above average for most of Queensland, northern and central parts of New South Wales, parts of the Northern Territory, large parts of the north and west of South Australia, and across much of Western Australia. Monthly rainfall was below average for parts of the south and southwest of Western Australia, scattered areas across southeastern South Australia and Victoria, and most of Tasmania.

Actual evapotranspiration (ET) was above average in most of Queensland, Western Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania, northern parts of South Australia, and patches in Victoria and New South Wales—roughly coincident with average and above average soil moisture. ET was below average in eastern parts of New South Wales, and parts of northern and eastern Victoria, with patches of below-average ET being observed in parts of South Australia and in Western Australia. Modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10–100cm) was above average along the Queensland coast and hinterland, northern parts of South Australia, and parts of Western Australia and Northern Territory. However, lower-layer soil moisture was below average for most of New South Wales and Victoria, parts of South Australia, central Northern Territory, and small patches in Western Australia and Tasmania.

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

Climate influences

The tropical Pacific Ocean remains El Niño–Southern Oscillation neutral. However, with cooling sea surface temperatures the chance of a La Niña forming in late 2017 is at least 50%. Other indicators of ENSO, such as the Southern Oscillation Index and trade winds, are also approaching La Niña levels meaning that the Bureau's ENSO Outlook has shifted to La Niña WATCH.

Most international climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest that sea surface temperatures will reach or exceed La Niña thresholds in late 2017. Six of eight models suggest that these levels will persist long enough to be considered an event. If La Niña does develop, it is likely to be weak and short-lived.

The Indian Ocean Dipole is currently neutral. Indian Ocean Dipole events are typically unable to form between December and April due to the Australian monsoon.

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.

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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