Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: November 2019–January 2020

  • Mostly low streamflows likely for November 2019–January 2020.
  • Low flows observed at 89% of locations across Australia in October. Near-median and high flows mostly in northeastern regions.
  • The positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) continues to be the main influence on Australian climate.

Streamflow forecast for November 2019–January 2020

For November 2019–January 2020, low streamflows are likely at 153 locations, spread across Australia. Near-median and high flows are likely at 5 and 2 locations, respectively. These are in the northern part of the country, where flow volumes are normally low at this time of year, and at locations in southern Australia that had rain in recent months. For this time of year, 63% of locations have moderate to high skill, while 37% of locations have low to very low skill.

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

October 2019 catchment conditions

Low streamflows were recorded at 176 locations, across Australia. Near-median and high flows were recorded at 12 and 10 locations, respectively–mostly in northeastern regions.

October rainfall was below to very much below average across most of Australia. Rainfall for October was above average in parts of central western Queensland after storms in the last days of the month brought moderate to locally heavy falls. October rainfall was also above average in parts of northwestern Western Australia between Port Hedland and Broome, and in the centre of that State, and for small areas of the Roper-McArthur District in the northeastern Northern Territory, but totals were generally modest in these areas.

Above-average actual evapotranspiration (AET) mainly occurred in parts of far north Queensland, northwestern and central eastern Western Australia. Below-average AET occurred across most of the country, where modelled root zone soil moisture (0–100cm) was below to very much below average.

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

Climate influences

The strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event continues, while the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral.

Forecasts show an easing in the easterly trade winds in the coming weeks, suggesting the positive IOD may be near its peak. However, international climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate the positive IOD is so strong that it is likely to take several weeks to decline and could persist into mid-summer.

A positive IOD typically brings below average spring rainfall to southern and central Australia, with warmer days for the southern two-thirds of the country. Positive IOD events are often associated with a more severe fire season for southeast Australia.

The majority of climate models forecast neutral ENSO for the remainder of 2019 and into the first quarter of 2020. When ENSO is neutral, it has little effect on Australian and global climate, meaning other influences are more likely to dominate.

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 also delivers 7-day streamflow forecasts for more than 160 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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