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

Posted by BCG on 2nd April 2020

Both the El Nino – Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), Australia’s main climate drivers, remain neutral and are forecast to stay that way throughout winter. However, the ocean temperatures north west of Australia are “Warmer than Average” which is likely to result in north-west cloud bands bringing tropical rainfall across central and southern Australia.

The outlook therefore for April to June is for “Above Average” rainfall to be likely for Western Australia and across parts of southern Australia. Both minimum and maximum temperatures also likely to be “Above Average” particularly in the tropical regions and eastern states. For the southern cropping regions, the timing of the ‘Autumn Break’ has been forecast to occur close to it’s average time in most locations.

Rainfall Roundup

“Above Average” and “Very Much Above Average” rainfall was recorded from the north west of Western Australia through central Australia and down into the south eastern states (Fig. 1). This was largely due to ex tropical cyclone Esther bringing heavy rainfall to northern and eastern Australia in early March. This rain reached some of the drought affected areas that missed out on the rains in February, most notably western Queensland and western New South Wales (Fig.1). However, more rain is still required in many drought affected regions (Fig. 2).

Figure 1. Rainfall deciles for March 2020.
Figure 2. Rainfall deciles for January to March 2020.

Rainfall Forecast

The BoM’s ACCESS model suggests that April is likely to deliver “Above Average” rainfall for the western half of Australia and parts of the southeast. Areas of the Queensland east coast however are likely to receive “Below Average” rainfall (Fig. 3).

For the three-month forecast, April to June, rainfall is likely to be “Above Average” for much of southern and western Australia but the Northern Cape York Peninsula in Queensland is likely to experience “Below Average” rainfall (Fig. 3). Note that at this time of year accuracy for the three-month forecast is moderate except for areas in the south east of Australia and along the east coast where accuracy is low (Fig. 3).

Figure 3. Australian outlook for April to Jun 2020.

Temperature Roundup

In March, maximum temperatures in parts of northern Australia have been “Above Average” whereas in the south, particularly New South Wales, maximum temperatures have been “Below Average” (Fig. 4).

Minimum temperatures on the other hand have been “Average” in the eastern states and “Above Average” in Western Australia except for a little area in northern Western Australia which experienced “Below Average” temperatures for the month of March (Fig. 5).  

Figure 4. Maximum temperature deciles for March 2020.
Figure 5. Minimum temperature deciles for March 2020.

Temperature Forecast

The BoM’s ACCESS model forecast suggests that over the next three months maximum temperatures are likely to be “Above Average” across northern and eastern Australia but “Below Average” in parts of southern Western Australia (Fig. 6). Minimum temperatures are likely to be “Above Average” across Australia for the next three months (Fig. 7). At this time of year accuracy for the three-month maximum temperature forecast is moderate to high and minimum temperatures, accuracy is moderate to high for Western Australia, the Northern Territory and parts of Queensland but low in south eastern Australia at this time of year. 

Figure 6. April to June 2020 maximum temperature outlook.
Figure 7. April to June 2020 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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