Importance of Natural Resources

Climate and Water Outlook for January–March 2020, issued 16 January 2020

Hello from the Bureau. I’m climatologist
Robyn Duell and i’m hydrologist Robert Pipunic and we’re here to discuss the
climate water outlook for February to April. So Robyn were well and truly into
summer now, what’s the state of play for our major climate drivers?
Well that really strong positive Indian Ocean dipole, and that negative southern
annular mode that brought us such warm and dry conditions last year, they’re both
eased and weakened and turned to neutral now. Okay so what does that mean? This
means that weather in the coming months is going to be influenced by more local
effects closer to home. This includes warmer than usual water to our West and
to our south. When the waters here are warmer than usual to our West, it means
there’s more available moisture which can be swept across the country with
weather systems. Kind of plays into our rainfall outlook? We see this reflected
in our rainfall outlook, with a slight increased chance of wetter conditions in
South West Western Australia, and also in parts of our tropical north. We still do
see a tendency towards a slight tendency towards dry conditions in some parts of
the East, but most of this map is actually very white, and this is
something that we often see when we’re not seeing a strong influence from our
drivers like a positive Indian Ocean dipole or El Nino and La Nina which are
also neutral now. And it means for most locations, there’s not a strong
indication either way, towards it being particularly wet, or particularly dry. So
what does this mean for streamflow? Yeah our streamflow forecasts show mostly low
flows across Australia at most locations. In fact, there are no high flows forecast
anywhere in Australia for this period, and that’s not to say that we can’t get
occurrences of high flow for you know specific events in some places, but just
on average for 3 months January to March the average across that period is mostly
for low. And that forecast is influenced a lot by recent conditions over the past
month. We’ve just come off extremely low, very low flows and extremely dry
landscape across Australia. And we can see this reflected in the soil moisture
map here, where most of the country there’s well below average in terms of
the moisture content. So Robyn, given these recent conditions and the
relatively neutral rainfall outlook, how is temperature looking as we look
ahead? These dry soils are going to influence our temperature outlook, and
with just a generally warmer climate now, this means our outlook
for February to April for temperatures is of an increased chance of warmer days
and nights. So with an increased chance of warmer temperatures, this means we
continue to see an elevated risk of heat waves, and also although we’re expecting
some significant rainfall across bushfire regions this week, we still have
a long way to go with the bushfire season and with higher temperatures,
we’ll continue to see an elevated risk of bushfires as we move through summer
and early autumn. Right, thanks Robyn. That’s it from us for now, head to our
website for more information and stay tuned for our next update

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