Seasonal Streamflow Forecasts

Date: February–April 2017

  • Near-median and high streamflows more likely for February–April
  • High, near-median and low flows observed at approximately one-third of locations each in January
  • El Niño–Southern Oscillation remains neutral

Streamflow forecast for February–April

For February–April 2017, near-median and high streamflows are more likely at 52 and 46 locations, respectively. Low flows are expected at 28 locations, mainly in southern Australia. Over half of locations have moderate to high forecast skill for this time of year, these are mostly in the southern part of the country. Forecasts have not been issued for 35 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

January catchment conditions

Near-median and high streamflows were recorded at 55 and 53 locations respectively, scattered across the continent. Low flows were recorded at 49 locations, mainly in the southern half of Australia.

The Australian total rainfall for January was the eighth wettest on record. South Australia and Western Australia each recorded area-average rainfall totals of more than twice their respective monthly mean. Well above average falls were also recorded for the Northern Territory, and for Queensland the total was slightly above average. Whereas New South Wales only received close to half of its average rainfall, with close to average falls for both Victoria and Tasmania.

Actual evapotranspiration was above average for much of central Australia, particularly South Australia and Northern Territory, primarily due to the recent high rainfalls. The rainfall also led to an increase in the modelled lower-layer soil moisture (10–100cm) across parts of northern and central Australia.

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

Climate influences

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral—neither El Niño nor La Niña. Most climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate neutral conditions are likely to persist through the southern summer and autumn. When ENSO is neutral, weather patterns over the Pacific region are typically close to average. This means there is a lower likelihood that eastern Australia's climate will be considerably wetter or drier than average.

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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