Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: April–June 2017

  • Almost even numbers of low, near-median and high streamflows likely for April to June
  • Near-median flows observed at 37% of locations in March; high and low flows at 31% of locations each
  • El Niño WATCH in place

Streamflow forecast for April–June

For April–June 2017, near-median and high streamflows are more likely at 30 and 29 locations respectively, mainly along the east coast and northern Australia. Low flows are expected at 30 locations. Forecast skill is generally low to very low for this time of year, locations with high skill are confined to southern Australia. Forecasts have not been issued for 72 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

March catchment conditions

Near-median and high streamflows were recorded at 58 and 50 locations respectively, spread across Australia. Low flows were recorded at 49 locations, mainly in southeastern Australia and Tasmania.

March rainfall was near average in total for Australia, however this disguises vast differences in rainfall around the country. Rainfall was above to very much above average across the east of the eastern States and large parts of Western Australia. Monthly rainfall was in the highest 10% of historical observations (decile 10) along much of the east coast, due in large part to severe tropical cyclone Debbie and the subsequent rains. Below-average rainfall was recorded for most of Tasmania and the central regions of Australia, including the south of the Northern Territory and most of South Australia.

Actual evapotranspiration was above average for much of western and northern Australia, and parts of the eastern States, primarily due to increased water availability in late March. The high rainfall has also led to an increase in modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10–100cm) across large areas along the east coast of Australia.

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

Climate influences

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently neutral. However, model outlooks and recent warming in the Pacific Ocean mean there is an increased chance of El Niño forming later this year. Seven of the eight international climate models surveyed by the Bureau suggest El Niño thresholds may be reached by July 2017, although some caution must be taken at this time of year, with lower model accuracy through the autumn months. The Bureau's ENSO Outlook is at El Niño WATCH, indicating that there is approximately a 50% chance of El Niño developing in 2017.

El Niño is often associated with below-average winter–spring rainfall over eastern Australia and warmer than average winter–spring maximum temperatures over the southern half of Australia.

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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