SOI message 20th June 2001. Next update: 27th June 2001.
During the past 6 weeks there has been relatively low rainfall across most of Queensland. While this has benefited some industries, many broadacre farmers are still waiting for planting opportunities. In the regions of southern Qld that are already drought declared (according to Qld Government criteria), the chances of the June-July-August rainfall total being above the long-term June-August median are mostly between 30 and 50%.
Probabilities of above June-August median rainfall across the rest of the state are also mainly between 30 and 60%.
The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has risen over the past couple of weeks to reach a 30-day average of +3.4. Although the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere have all the necessary ingredients ready for an El Niño, the 'flip' into that state has not occurred. Most, but not all, predictions from various research bodies are for a 'neutral' state of the Pacific Ocean to dominate over the next 6 to 9 months.
* It is important to remember that we can have low rainfall probabilities without being in an El Niño. * Ensure you update your forecast at the end of each month.
Review of Climate Forecasts and Information
Climate pattern and SOI 'phase'. Based on the latest values and trends of the SOI, the probabilities of receiving above-median rainfall over the June-July-August period is between 20 and 60% for much of Queensland, although there are exceptions.
In Queensland, exceptions include small areas of the Central Highlands and Cape York that have chances of between 50 and 70% of above-median June-August rainfall totals.
Regions of southern Queensland that were drought affected over much of the previous two growing seasons have probabilities between 30% and 50% of getting at least June-August median rainfall. The areas with the lowest chance, 20%-30%, of exceeding the median June-August rainfall total are in the far western and south west Downs, the Warrego and Maranoa.
Coastal districts east of the Divide have the greatest likelihood of above-median June-August total rainfall in NSW (60-70% chance). The majority of the areas of NSW, Victoria, and South Australia have probabilities ranging between 20 and 50%.
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.
Sea-surface temperatures (SSTs). Sea surface temperatures in the key regions of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean are mainly close to average or slightly warmer than average. Although the recent westerly wind burst has created the necessary preconditions for an El Niño, it has not been included in some of the General Circulation Model analyses and forecasts. Most of the GCMs, i.e. 8 out of a selected 12, are predicting that we will be in a "neutral" event in 6 months time.
Pasture Growth forecasts. The probabilities of obtaining median pasture growth or better during the May-June-July period are below 50% for most of the state, although in the south-east they are mostly above 80%.
30 to 50-Day Oscillation. The 30-50 day oscillation is next due to influence Queensland around the 2nd week of July.
More detailed information for your location can be obtained from the Australian Rainman software package. Also additional information is available on our internet site 'The Long Paddock', or by phoning Col Paull (07 3896 9587), Dr Allyson Williams or Dr Roger Stone (climatologists) on 07 4688 1407, 07 4688 1293 or Roger's Mobile 041 255 9408. Information contained in this publication is provided as general advice only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought. The Queensland Centre for Climate Applications, has taken all reasonable steps to ensure the information in this publication is accurate at the time of publication. Readers should ensure that they make appropriate inquiries to determine whether new information is available on the particular subject matter. Contributions by Bureau of Meteorology are gratefully acknowledged. This message will next be updated at the beginning of July.