Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: May–July 2016

  • Low streamflows more likely for May–July
  • Low flows observed at over three quarters of locations in April
  • El Niño enters its final weeks.

Streamflow forecast for May–July

For May to July 2016, low streamflows are more likely at 74 locations across Australia. Near-median flows are more likely at 21 locations and high flows at three. There is low to very low forecast skill for many locations across Australia. Locations with high skill are generally in northern parts of the country. Due to very low model skill or missing observation data, forecasts have not been issued for 42 locations. 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.

New 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

In April, rainfall and modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10-100cm) were below to very much below average across large parts of eastern and northern Australia. This coincided with above average to very-much-above average potential evaporation, however actual evapotranspiration was below average due to limited water availability. Low streamflows were recorded at over three quarters of locations across eastern and northern Australia in April. Near-median flows were recorded at 23 locations scattered across the country.

Very-much-above average April rainfall was recorded in parts of southwest Western Australia, as cold fronts and cloudbands brought regular rainfall to the area. Recent rainfall in this area has resulted in wetter soils and near-median or high April streamflows for most locations.

April streamflow observations were not available for Helena River at Ngangaguringuring and Isdell River at Dales Yard, both in Western Australia, or for Latrobe River at Willow Grove and Delatite River at Tonga Bridge in Victoria.

For more details, read our Monthly Climate Summary.

Climate influences

El Niño continues to weaken and the tropical Pacific Ocean is bordering on neutral levels. Sea surface temperatures have continued to cool and atmospheric indicators have been trending towards neutral. The Bureau's ENSO Outlook is at La Niña WATCH, meaning the likelihood of La Niña forming later in 2016 is around 50%.

La Niña is often, but not always, associated with above-average winter-spring rainfall over northern, central and eastern Australia. Australia's climate is also being influenced by record warm temperatures in the Indian Ocean. The warmth in the Indian Ocean may provide extra moisture for rain systems as they cross Australia during autumn. Our understanding ENSO video provides more information on how El Niño and La Niña 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.

New 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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