Winter forecast tips dry, return to average

Winter forecast tips dry, return to average

Weather
OUTLOOK: A map showing rainfall totals that have a 75 per cent chance of occurring for June to August. Map: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

OUTLOOK: A map showing rainfall totals that have a 75 per cent chance of occurring for June to August. Map: BUREAU OF METEOROLOGY

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FORECASTS show much of SA could expect a "return to average" rainfall this winter.

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FORECASTS show much of SA could expect a "return to average" rainfall this winter.

Bureau of Meteorology's long-range forecasting manager Andrew Watkins has warned the state's south-eastern agricultural areas were likely to experience "drier than average" conditions.

"But further north, there is a little bit of a swing back towards average - not exceptionally wet or exceptionally dry in those areas," he said.

Dr Watkins said this comes following an autumn that was in the top 10 warmest on record for SA, in terms of the maximum temperatures.

He said it was also a particularly dry March, April and May for agricultural areas, especially in the South East.

He said the warm weather would continue into June.

"The day times are likely to continue with warmer than average conditions across much of the state," he said.

"The minimum temperatures will be warmer in the SE but possibly closer to average in the rest of the state."

He warned higher pressures systems were going to be present in the SE and an elevated frost risk.

"Drier than average conditions typically mean more cloud-free nights, which increases the risk of frost in susceptible areas," he said.

Dr Watkins said the major driver in SA's climate in the coming months was a "fairly cool" sea surface temperature off the WA coast, which has the potential to line up with an Indian Ocean Dipole.

Nationally, Australia has just experienced an autumn in the top five of all recorded, particularly in the north west.

In March, Roebourne, WA, a temperature of 48.1 degrees Celsius was recorded - the all-time record highest temperature for autumn.

Dr Watkins said Qld had experienced slightly above average rainfall while the remainder of Australia had been "very dry".

"There are competing drivers - we're fairly close to an El Nino but not hitting the threshold," he said.

"It's forecast to east in the coming months but it will be replaced by a positive Indian Ocean Dipole - a pattern that producers warmer, drier conditions, out of the Indian Ocean."

The Bureau's ENSO Outlook is at El Nino Watch, meaning the likelihood of El Nino developing in 2019 is about 50 per cent - or double the normal risk for this time of year.

El Nino events typically mean reduced rainfall for eastern Australia during winter-spring.

Significantly, models predict a positive Indian Ocean Dipole will develop in June, and persist through winter and into spring.

This would typically bring below average winter-spring rainfall and snowfall to southern and central Australia, and warmer temperatures to much of the country.

"This certainly doesn't mean we will have no rainfall over winter - it is the southern wet season after all - but it does support the model outlook for a drier than average winter, with the possibility of more evaporation than normal," Dr Watkins said.

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