Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for January to April 2008

The bottom line

La Nina Delivers

The La Nina has now delivered and around two thirds of Queensland has recorded some useful to above average rainfall. A low pressure system combined with early seasonal rain has led to flooding in central and south west Queensland.

It's worth noting however that parts of the state, especially the south east, remain fairly dry.

Floods are often associated with La Nina years. Analyses of flood heights sourced from the Bureau of Meteorology for the Macintyre River at Goondiwindi demonstrate this pattern. Since 1917 at Goondiwindi, there have been 18 months with flood heights exceeding 10 metres (major flood height is 8.5 metres).

Of those 18 months, 12 coincided with a La Niña sea surface temperature pattern and 6 coincided with a neutral sea surface temperature pattern. No floods of this magnitude have occurred at Goondiwindi with an El Niño sea surface temperature pattern.

Although about two thirds of the state is under Department of Emergency Services Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements due to flooding, 62.4 % of Queensland is still drought declared.

Drought declarations and revocations in Queensland are made following recommendations from the local drought committees to the Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries.

Individually Droughted Property status is granted when criteria related to rainfall, pasture and stock conditions are met. The Drought Declarations are not automatically revoked by floods, but remain in place until officially revoked.

Other information on the current drought situation and available financial assistance, drought planning advice, social, and community counselling services can be found at or through the DPI Call Centre on 132523.

For maps of drought declared regions and seasonal conditions reports go to the Long Paddock internet site

The 30 day average of the SOI has remained positive, and as of the 22nd of January was plus 16.8. The outlook for rain remains at a 50 to70% chance of above median rainfall for much of the state for January to March.

The Bureau of Meteorology Seasonal Temperature Outlook indicates a moderate shift in the odds towards cooler than normal conditions throughout much of north eastern Australia for Summer.

Maximum temperatures are likely to be close to normal throughout north eastern Australia from January to March. There is a 60 to 75% chance of getting above median minimum temperatures throughout northern Queensland.

So over the remainder of summer we can expect cooler than normal maximum temperatures, and minimum temperatures will be above average in the north and close to average in the southern half of the state.

Last updated: 21 January 2008