Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: December 2016–February 2017

  • Near-median streamflows more likely for December–February
  • Near-median streamflows occurred at just under half of locations in November
  • ENSO Outlook status is now INACTIVE

Streamflow forecast for December–February

For December 2016–February 2017, near-median streamflows are more likely at 69 locations across Australia. High flows are expected at 28 locations, mainly along the southeast coast and Tasmania; and low flows are expected at 20 locations. About half of locations have moderate to high forecast skill for this time of year, mostly in the southeast and southwest of the country. Forecasts have not been issued for 44 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

November catchment conditions

Near-median or low November flows were recorded at 71 and 44 locations respectively, scattered across the continent. High flows were recorded at 43 locations, mainly in Tasmania.

November rainfall was 31% below the long-term average across Australia. Tasmania was the only State recording above-average rainfall. Rainfall was below average to very much below average in large areas of Cape York Peninsula, southern Queensland and northern New South Wales. South Australia recorded its driest November since 1996. Rainfall was 44% below average across the Murray–Darling Basin.

Modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10–100cm) in November remained very much above average in southeastern Australia, mainly due to persistence of wet conditions from October, but much of Northern Territory and Queensland has reverted back to more average conditions. Lower-layer soil moisture was below average in southern Western Australia, parts of Cape York Peninsula and southeast Queensland.

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

Climate influences

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are both in the neutral range. Most climate models predict the tropical Pacific Ocean will remain in the ENSO-neutral range until at least the end of the 2016–17 summer. The IOD has little influence between December and April.

The ENSO Outlook is now INACTIVE. This means neither El Niño nor La Niña is likely to form in the coming months. Sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean remain cooler than average, but in the ENSO-neutral range.

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.

Creative Commons By Attribution logo
Unless otherwise noted, all material on this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Australia Licence