Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for November 2004 to February 2005

The bottom line

Recent rain welcome 16/11/04

Rainfall recorded in early November across much of the north-east cropping belt of Australia was generally welcome especially for those looking to get some moisture into soil profiles for the summer cropping season.

However, it certainly has been patchy with some large variations in the totals received. While there have been some big falls it is worth noting that most of the cropping regions of Australia still have some way to go to catch up on the rainfall deficit from the last 6 months. For the latest rainfall maps try

In the mean time the 30day average of the SOI as of the 15th November is minus 3.3. Based on the SOI phase at the end of October and historical rainfall records, the chance of getting above median rainfall through to the end of January for much of the eastern coastal Queensland is predominately above 50%. For the rest of the state, the chance of getting above median rainfall through to the end of January is predominately below 50% with isolated areas as low as 30%.

The latest rainfall probability maps for Queensland, Australia and the world are at or

>From a risk management view point, while sea surface temperatures (SST) in the Pacific are not in a classic El Niño pattern (such as occurred from mid 2002 to mid 2003), the fact that SST in the central Pacific have remained warmer than normal (+0.5 to 1.5oC) is cause for concern.

As long as SST in this region are warmer than normal, there is an increased risk that our rainfall and water supply across eastern Australia will be below average. We describe this pattern as a "border line El Niño".

To find out more on conditions in the Pacific try the Bureau of Meteorology "El Niño wrap up" at or the US Climate Prediction Centre at For the latest sea surface temperature maps have a look at or at

Because rainfall probabilities and median rainfall levels vary between regions, we recommend referring to Rainman StreamFlow for more specific information. Otherwise call the DPI Call Centre on 13 25 23 or (07) 3404 6999.

Last updated: 15 November 2004