The monthly value of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was -8.0 in November and -7.6 in December. According to the SOI Phase system, the SOI remains in a ‘Consistently Negative’ phase.
Based on previous years when the SOI has been in a ‘Consistently Negative’ phase at the end of December, the probability of above-median rainfall for the next three-month period (January to March) is less than 50 per cent for most of Queensland. For many north-eastern and central west areas of the state the probability of above-median January to March rainfall is less than 30 per cent.
Previous years with a ‘Consistently Negative’ SOI phase at the end of December include 1901, 1905, 1913, 1914, 1919, 1925, 1939, 1941, 1951, 1957, 1963, 1977, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1994, 1997, 2004 and 2014. The rainfall probabilities stated above are based on the 1900 to 1998 period (that does not include 2004 and 2014).
When using a climate outlook it should be remembered that the probability, or per cent 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 should note that while climate outlook schemes cannot provide outlooks with absolute certainty, users who follow a skilful scheme should benefit from doing so in the long-term. Thus, users should consider the historical track record of any scheme, and such information is becoming increasingly available.
Further seasonal climate outlook information for Queensland is available in the monthly climate statement produced by the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts and at www.bom.gov.au