Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for January to April 2003

The bottom line

The Southern Oscillation Index has been remarkably variable over recent months with the latest 30-day average (as of the 16th January) now just minus 2.5. This sharp rise over the last month reinforces the potential for some relief rainfall during January to March, especially for western Queensland.

Many producers and regional businesses will be very interested in the next passage of the 30-50 Day Oscillation (or MJO) that is due in mid-February. This system will 'hold the key' for both helping to induce some relief rain and also for its ability to regenerate the El Niño system as it interacts with wind flow patterns across the equatorial Pacific.

Unfortunately the El Nino pattern still exists in the central Pacific. Therefore while there is the potential for relief rain across many of the droughted areas of the state, there remains only a low chance of getting the well above average falls required to break this ongoing drought.

We will continue to monitor the situation on a regular basis and provide information on when there has been some measurable breakdown of the El Nino.

Last updated: 15 January 2003