Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for February to May 2004

The bottom line

SOI Continues Roller Coaster 11/02/04

The 30day average of the SOI has continued its roller coaster ride of late and as of Tuesday 10th February is minus 2.8 (up from minus 12.8 at the start of the month).

For February to April there remains a reasonable 50-70% chance of getting above median rainfall for parts of the Warrego, western Darling Downs and Burnett. For example, Talwood has a 68% chance of getting above its long term Feb to April median rainfall of 160mm.

However, for the far south west, central west and central north, the chance of getting above the February to April median rainfall has fallen somewhat to around 20-40%.

Across the rest of Queensland there is no strong signal towards either wetter or drier than normal conditions with a 50% chance of receiving above median rainfall. The latest rainfall probability maps can be found at> or>

The recent widespread rain in many parts of Queensland was due, at least in part, to the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO). This system passed across Queensland in the first ten days of February. It last impacted on our climate system between Christmas and New Year and would next be due to affect our climate and weather systems in mid March.

Interestingly at this time of year the MJO can intensify the monsoon season as well as help trigger cyclones if there are any existing low-pressure systems in the Coral Sea.

There is also the potential for it to create westerly wind bursts in the central Pacific after it has passed over Australia. Regular followers of this column would be aware that at this time of year (through to late autumn/early winter) westerly wind bursts in the Pacific can help trigger an El Nino event.

Last updated: 10 February 2004