Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for February to May 2001

The bottom line

SOI message 28th February 2001 The average SOI over the previous 30 days is now +11.2 (on 28/02/01). Based on the SOI, the probabilities of receiving median March-April-May rainfall is mostly between 40% and 60% but there are patches of higher probabilities such as in north-central Queensland and the south coast.

The 30-50 day oscillation is due to influence Queensland towards the end first week in March.

The full story

Review of Climate Forecasts and Information 1st March 2001

Climate pattern and SOI 'phase'. Based on the latest values and trends of the SOI, the probabilities of receiving above-median rainfall over the total March-May period are little different from the 'normal' for this time of year in most of the eastern States of Australia. However exceptions include the south-east coast which has reasonably high probabilities (60-70%) of receiving higher than normal rainfall. The probabilities along the central coast have decreased since last months outlook to mostly 50%.

Central NSW and western Victoria have lower probabilities of between 30 and 50% of exceeding the median rainfall.

Note that a 70% probability of receiving the long-term median for a location also means there is a 30% probability of not receiving the median for that location. These probability values are simply statements of fact referring to the history of rainfall events for particular locations over the past 100 years.

The outlook for winter is dependent on whether or not an El Niño develops during the next 4 -5 months.

Sea-surface temperatures (SSTs). The present pattern of ocean temperatures in key regions of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean are still cooler than average, especially sub surface.

Ocean surface temperatures to the north of Australia were warmer than the long-term average during January.

Some general circulation models are suggesting that there is a potential for warming in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean over the next 6-9 months. We will watch the situation closely to determine any potential for El Niño development this autumn. Close monitoring of sea-surface temperature patterns and the SOI over the next few months is suggested.

Pasture Growth forecasts. The probabilities of obtaining median pasture growth or better during the February-March-April period are 'above-average' over most of Qld. However, exceptions include the southeast of the state where probabilities are mainly between 10 and 20%, and coastal districts north of Mackay.

30 to 50-Day Oscillation. The next passage of the 30 to 50-Day Oscillation over Qld is expected during the first week of March.

This message will next be updated on 1st April 2001.

Last updated: 27 February 2001