Climate outlook for March to June 2020
Published Date: 27 Feb 2020
The Bureau of Meteorology has released the climate forecast from March to June 2020.
Climate outlook overview
- Autumn (March to May) is likely to be wetter than average for parts of southern Australia (60–75% chance), while scattered parts of northern Australia are more likely to be drier than average (60–65% chance).
- Rainfall for March shows a similar pattern, with a drier than average month likely across much of northern Australia (60–75% chance), and a wetter month likely across most of the southern mainland (60–70% chance).
- Both days and nights are likely to be warmer than average across most of the country during autumn, although in the south days have roughly equal chances of being above or below average.
- Major Australian climate drivers, including the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), are currently neutral and are forecast to remain neutral through autumn.
Autumn rainfall outlook—wetter for the south, drier for the north
- The rainfall outlook for March shows southern WA, southern SA, as well as western and central parts of both Victoria and NSW have an increased chance of being wetter than average (60–70% chance). However, northern WA, and large areas of northern parts of the NT and Queensland are likely to have a drier month (60–70% chance, up to 75% chance in northern WA).
- The chances of a wetter or drier than average autumn (March to May) are roughly equal for most of Australia. However, scattered parts of the tropical north have a slightly increased chance of being drier than average (60–65% chance), while southern WA, southern SA, western Victoria and southwest NSW have a slightly increased chance of being wetter than average (60–70% chance, up to 75% chance in southern WA).
- While recent rainfall over parts of eastern Australia has eased the dry in a number of areas, long-term rainfall deficiencies continue for almost a third of the country. Several months of above average rainfall may be required to replenish water storages and raise streamflows. Major Australian climate drivers such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are currently neutral, and are forecast to remain neutral through autumn. When these major climate drivers are neutral, widespread above or below average seasonal rainfall becomes less likely.
Warmer autumn days and nights likely for most of Australia
- Daytime temperatures for autumn (March to May) are likely to be above average across most of Australia, although days have roughly equal chances of being above or below average in the south.
- Autumn night-time temperatures are very likely to be warmer than average for most Australia (greater than 80% chance in northern and western Australia, 60-80% chance in the southeast).
- April to June is also likely to see warmer than average days and nights for most of the country.
- Warmer seas around Australia and long-term climate change is likely influencing this temperature outlook. Australia's climate has warmed by around 1.4 °C since 1910.
Maximum temperature maps
Minimum temperature maps
- The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) are currently neutral and are likely to remain neutral through the southern autumn.
- Shorter-term drivers, like the Southern Annual Mode (SAM) and the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO) are also neutral and likely to remain neutral over the coming few weeks.
- When these major climate drivers are neutral, Australia is less likely to see widespread above or below average seasonal rainfall.
- When the main climate drivers are neutral, other influences can affect the climate of Australia. The western tropical Pacific Ocean is forecast to remain warmer than average, potentially drawing moisture away from Australia. However warmer waters surrounding northern Australia are also likely, which would typically increase the chance of wetter conditions in southern and eastern Australia. These competing climate drivers will be tracked closely over the season.
- Australia's temperature and rainfall variability is also influenced by global warming caused by human activities. Australia's climate has warmed by around 1.4 °C since 1910, while southern Australia has seen a reduction of 10–15% in cool season (April–October) rainfall in recent decades.
- The Bureau's climate model includes the influence of climate change and natural climate drivers like ENSO, IOD, the MJO and SAM in its forecast.