Seasonal Climate Outlook Message for December 2012 to March 2013

Commentary on rainfall probabilities based on 'phases' of the SOI

The monthly value of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was +2.3 for October and +3.8 for November. According to the SOI Phase system, this places the SOI in a ‘Consistently Near-Zero’ phase.  

Based on previous years when the SOI has been in a ‘Consistently Near-Zero’ phase at the end of November, the probability of above-median rainfall for the next three-month period (December to February) is near-normal (40 to 60 per cent) for most of Queensland.

In assessing this information, it is worth considering other years with a ‘Consistently Near-Zero’ SOI phase at the end of November. Since 1950 these include 1952, 1953, 1954, 1958, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1983, 1985, 1987, 1990, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003 and 2004.

When using a climate outlook it should be remembered that the probability, or percent chance, of something occurring is just that – a probability. For example, if there is a 70 per cent probability of above-median rainfall, then there is also a 30 per cent chance of below-median rainfall. It does not mean that rainfall will be 70 per cent more than the median.

Users are advised not to rely on a single climate outlook alone and should consider the range of climate risk assessment information that is available. In the first instance, users in Queensland may wish to consult the monthly climate statement produced by the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts.

Further seasonal climate outlook information is available at

Last updated: 27 March 2018