Warmer and drier than average winter likely

AS much of the country shivered through a cold end to autumn, the Bureau of Meteorology released its winter outlook, showing the next three months are likely to be warmer and drier than average for large parts of the nation.

Despite some recent rain in Gippsland, local predictions are consistent with the nation’s.

Sale has a very likely chance of recording a median temperature above its usual maximum average of 14.8 degrees Celsius between June and August.

The town’s median lowest temperature of 4.4 degrees Celsius is also very likely to be above average this year.

Sale has an unlikely chance of exceeding its rainfall median of 117ml – instead, there is a 58 per cent chance of receiving at least 100ml.

Stradbroke is unlikely to receive its median of 137ml, with a 67 per cent chance of at least 100ml, and Giffard’s median of 133ml is also unlikely to be met, with a 68 per cent chance of at least 100ml.

Maffra’s 117ml median is unlikely to be met, with a 58 per cent chance of at least 100ml, while Glenmaggie’s median of 139ml will probably fall short, but there is a hopeful 75 per cent chance of more than 100ml falling.

Briagolong’s median of 140ml is unlikely to arrive, with a 65 per cent chance of more than 100ml expected.

More broadly, the bureau’s winter climate outlook shows eastern and central Australia is unlikely to receive the above average rainfall many have been hoping for.

The bureau’s manager of long-range forecasting, Dr Andrew Watkins, said winter was shaping up to be drier than average for most of eastern Australia, with warmer than average days very likely for much of the country.

“South-eastern Australia could see a dry start to winter, with the models showing June rainfall is likely to be below average in New South Wales, Victoria, eastern South Australia, and southern parts of both Queensland and the Northern Territory,” he said.

“In other parts of the country, there is no strong swing towards an exceptionally wetter or drier than average June.

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

Dr Watkins said temperatures across the remainder of winter were very likely to be warmer than average.

“Our climate outlook shows most states and territories have large areas where chances are greater than 80 per cent for warmer than average days,” he said.

“Winter nights are very likely to be warmer than average in Tasmania, along the mainland’s south-east coast, and northern Western Australia stretching through parts of the Northern Territory.”

The bureau’s ENSO (El Nio-Southern Oscillation) outlook is currently at ‘El Nio watch’, meaning the likelihood of El Nio developing in 2019 is about 50 per cent – or double the normal risk for this time of year.

El Nios typically result in 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,” Dr Watkins said.

“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.

“In terms of snow cover, historically depths are lower in late winter and spring during positive Indian Ocean Dipole snow seasons, but on the flip side, the drier and colder air at night make for great snow making conditions.”

Preliminary figures for the bureau’s autumn summaries show autumn 2019 is likely to go down as one of Australia’s five warmest autumns on record.

Daytime temperatures have been much warmer to very much warmer than average for much of Australia, with the only exception being near average temperatures in Queensland away from the south.

For the latest outlook, visit www.bom.gov.au/