January to March rainfall is likely to be below average in parts of eastern Australia and above average in northwest and central WA, according to the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest Seasonal Climate Outlook statement.
The January outlook shows a drier month in the east, while a wetter January is likely in northwest WA and western Tasmania.
Warmer days and nights are likely across eastern and northern Australia, with cooler days and nights more likely in Tasmania and southwest WA.
The outlooks are influenced by the Southern Annular Mode (SAM), as well as warmer waters surrounding northern Australia. SAM is currently negative, and forecast to remain negative through January (a negative SAM means Australia experiences higher pressures than normal, resulting in reduced rainfall and higher temperatures during the summer months).
The warmer than normal sea surface temperatures surrounding northern Australia are likely to enhance rainfall in northwest WA.
Historical accuracy of outlooks for January to March rainfall is moderate over most of Australia, except southern parts of WA and parts of the interior where accuracy is low to very low.
Warmer start to 2017 likely for eastern Australia
January to March maximum temperatures are likely to be warmer than average in eastern Australia and cooler than average in Tasmania and parts of northern and central WA.
January to March minimum temperatures are likely to be warmer than average in eastern Australia, but cooler in the far southeast, and across parts of northern and central WA.
The current outlook reflects a negative Southern Annular Mode and warmer waters to the northwest of Australia.
Maximum temperature accuracy is moderate over most of Australia, except eastern SA, where accuracy is low. Minimum temperature accuracy is patchy, with moderate skill across eastern Australia, the Top End of the NT and eastern WA.
Source: Bureau of Meteorology