Above-average temperatures predicted heading into summer | ACT | Office Space Canberra \
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Above-average temperatures predicted heading into summer

Posted October 26, 2017 18:01:48

The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting above-average temperatures in north and south-east Australia over the next few months.

The bureau released its climate outlook for November, December and January today, which also forecast a dry November for Western Australia.

Key points:

  • Above-average temperatures forecast for the north and south-east
  • Neutral rainfall outlook overall, but dry November for the west
  • Typical cyclone season expected
  • Fire risk reduced in south-east Queensland

The above-average temperatures follow spring heatwaves along the east coast, with temperature records being broken in New South Wales.

Extended and long-range forecasts manager Andrew Watkins said weak La Nina conditions were part of the reason above-average temperatures were predicted over the next few months.

“We are not expecting the widespread cloudiness that we normally get with [a strong La Nina event], which would block the sun and effectively keep things fairly cool,” he said.

“But we are getting the heat from the rather warm western Pacific Ocean.”

Dr Watkins said the warm ocean temperatures led to warm temperatures on the mainland.

In south-east Australia there are particularly high odds of warmer than normal temperatures.

Dr Watkins said this was partly because the weak La Nina conditions were likely to encourage slow-moving systems, warming up over the inland then drawing the air to south-eastern Australia.

“Plus we have got quite warm sea surface temperatures, particularly off the eastern Victorian and Tasmanian coasts, as a result of a warmer Eastern Australian Current at the moment,” he said.

“We also don’t have the wet soils inland we would usually get.

“They are quite dry at the moment, and hence we get the situation where the air bakes over central Australia, and it comes in over south-eastern Australia on those hot north-easterly days.”

West set for a dry November

While there is no strong shift towards wetter or drier conditions for the next three months across Australia, the outlook suggests a drier November is likely in the west.

“It is the impact of what is going on in the eastern Indian Ocean,” Dr Watkins said.

“We actually have some cooler temperatures in the eastern Indian Ocean and warmer temperatures over towards Africa.

“So that is tending to favour the rainfall to be out in the central Indian Ocean or even toward Africa, rather than the rainfall being closer to Western Australia.”

But he said the dry should not last for long.

“When we get past November, typically that sort of pattern starts to break down as the Asian Monsoon kicks in.”

Does this change the bushfire outlook?

Agencies will meet again in a week to discuss the fire outlook, but for now, the fire risk has not reduced.

“Given things look likely to stay warmer through the south-east and given some parts, especially say in Gippsland and so on are still relatively dry, the fire risk hasn’t reduced all that much in many areas,” Dr Watkins said.

“The only real area where it has reduced is in south-east Queensland, but to some degree that naturally reduces at this time of year anyway.”

La Nina watch declared

The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently in neutral, but models suggest there is a 50 per cent chance of a La Nina forming later in the year, which is double the normal chance.

But the bureau is not suggesting this La Nina will bring about the widespread rainfall often associated with La Nina events.

“At the moment we have a wetter influence coming out of the Pacific Ocean with that possible La Nina, but also a drying influence coming out of the Indian Ocean. They are having a bit of a battle over Australia,” he said.

That battle is at a stalemate.

“The odds are tending towards no real strong push towards wetter or drier,” Dr Watkins said.

Topics: weather, brisbane-4000, sydney-2000, canberra-2600, melbourne-3000, hobart-7000, adelaide-5000, perth-6000, darwin-0800

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