THE CLIMATE KELPIE BLOG: What’s predicted in February?

Posted by BCG on 7th February 2020

]Both the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are now neutral and are likely to remain so until at least the end of the southern autumn. The likelihood of a wetter or drier than average February to April is roughly equal for much of Australia. However, parts of northern Western Australia and the northern Murray-Darling Basin have a slightly increased chance of being drier than average, as this is ordinarily the northern wet season, this is not a favourable forecast for these regions.

Rainfall Roundup

In January, rainfall deciles varied greatly across the country (Fig 1). Rainstorms were very hit or miss, with some areas experiencing “highest on record” rainfall, others experiencing “lowest on record”, and everything in between.

The last three-month rainfall deciles show “below average rainfall” across much of the country (Fig 2). There were some areas of Western Australia, the eastern Northern Territory and Western Queensland which recorded “average” rainfall. Areas of central Western Australia and western Tasmania recorded “above average” rainfall, with areas of each recording “highest on record”.

 Figure 1. Rainfall deciles for January 2020.

Figure 2. Rainfall deciles for Nov-Jan 2020.

Rainfall Forecast

The BoM’s ACCESS model suggests that rainfall in February is likely to be “average” across much of the country, with the exceptions of central and the northern coast of Western Australia, western Queensland and areas in the north of the Northern Territory, where it is likely to be “drier than average” (Fig. 3).

At this time of year the accuracy for the three-month forecast has moderate skill for most of the country, except for south-western Queensland, the southern coast of New South Wales and western South Australia which have low accuracy at this time of year (Fig. 3).

 Figure 3. Australian outlook for February to April 2020.

Temperature Roundup

In January, Australia was “above average” to “very much above average” across much of eastern Australian and “average” across much of the rest of Australia, with the exception of central Western Australia, which was “below average” to “very much below average” (Fig. 4).

Minimum temperatures were “above average” to “very much above average” across the Northern Territory, Queensland, north-eastern New South Wales, northern Western Australia and eastern Victoria, with some areas recording “highest on record” (Fig. 5). Minimum temperatures were “average” across most of Victoria and South Australia and parts of Western Australia. Pockets of Western Australia, one in central Western Australia and one in the south-west of Western Australia, recorded “below average” minimum temperatures.

Figure 4. Maximum temperature deciles for January 2020.

 Figure 5. Minimum temperature deciles for January 2020.

Temperature Forecast

The BoM’s ACCESS model forecast suggests “warmer than average” maximum (Fig. 6) and minimum (Fig. 7) temperatures are likely across most of the country over the next three months.

At this time of year accuracy for the three-month forecast is moderate to high for the maximum temperatures (except for a pocket of South Australia, which has low accuracy). Accuracy is moderate across most of Australia for the minimum temperatures (except for central and western Queensland and eastern Northern Territory, which has low accuracy).  

 Figure 6. February to April maximum temperature outlook.

 Figure 7. February to April minimum temperature outlook.

Climate and Water Outlook Videos

The Bureau of Meteorology releases regular outlook videos, covering all this information. Watch the most recent video below.

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