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ARTICLES >> Environment Weather Watch

Weather Watch (March 2012)

Posted by Bestprac on Feb 28 2013

by Susan Carn (Hawker/Blinman Bestprac Group)

Last week the Bureau of Meteorology released its Seasonal Outlook for March to May. When I looked at the map I got very excited as my patch has a 65% chance of exceeding median rainfall.

However, I decided to verify this as Seasonal Outlooks perform better at different times for different places. What I found was that, for those months, my area was not very consistent at all; less than 45%.

Rainfall Verification
 

The BOM explain their verification map as “Regions with scores above 50% (i.e., those areas coloured in shades of green) are where the Seasonal Outlook has performed better than chance, and hence are areas where using the Seasonal Outlook may provide value for decision making.”  

So, in that case I should not be getting overconfident, about that 65% chance, and using it to make decisions just yet. However, one region with a high percent consistent rate is the south west corner of WA. The first map shows only a 40% chance of exceeding median rainfall, which means the chances of below normal rainfall are about 60%. When combined with the verification, this becomes a real concern for farmers in this region and they should feel confident to use this information in their decision making.

The outlook of a wetter than normal autumn being  more likely for much of SA, western NSW, southwest Queensland and western WA is predominately a result of warmer than normal waters in the Indian Ocean. When I looked at each month’s outlook separately, via the BOM’s experimental POAMA 2 model, March seemed to be the most promising for rain events for most of Australia.

It is predicted that the warm water of the Eastern Indian Ocean will return to nearer normal soon, then warm up again after July. This would then be called a weak negative Indian Ocean Dipole event, which potentially could bring some moisture down from the north west during late winter and spring.

If you are like me, and considering planting a crop, an interesting website to have a play around in is “CropMate”, produced by the NSW Department of Primary Industries. You can select locations from NSW, SA, Vic and QLD. Then under CropMate Preseason planning, Climate outlook, choose Seasonal Forecast. This will show you a pie chart of the probabilities of getting a poor, average or good season, in your area.

As I write, a cyclone has formed off the coast of WA. I have found a website that tracks storms quite comprehensively and with really good graphics. Have a look at Weather Underground.

Here’s hoping some of the moisture from that cyclone will feed through to us. So far this year we have only had 2mm at home, although one of our blocks received 20mm in a thunderstorm last week! Ben had been busy cleaning out dams, and it certainly paid off for the ones in that block. Fingers crossed for the rest!

Last changed: Mar 01 2013

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