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ARTICLES >> Environment Weather Watch

Weather Watch - March 2011

Posted by Bestprac on Mar 02 2011

by Susan Carn

I hope that you are enjoying the rewards that summer rain brings, as I am. I have not seen the Quorn area so green at this time of year for a long time. However, I heard my husband actually complaining to a friend that the feed was so high, he had trouble finding the mob of hoggets he recently put into one paddock! Though one downside is the weed problem.

He does seem happy about the prospect of another good year. The early signs are looking quite good, plus we have all of that sub-soil moisture – something we didn’t have this time last year.

So what are these signs?

The ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) forecast is that the current strong La Nina condition would decay quickly in following months. “However”, according to the JAMSTEC climate scientists in Japan “the cold La Nina condition would rebound in late 2011 and persist up to early 2012.”

But it seems other models are only willing to look as far ahead as about August, and they are saying a neutral SOI is likely until then.

The Indian Ocean forecast, also from JAMSTEC, says “In the second half of 2011, a weak negative IOD might tend to occur.” This is what happened last year.

So maybe by August we will be in a neutral ENSO/weak negative IOD, which, for most parts of Australia, might mean average to just above average rainfall.

Here is the BOM experimental model POAMA’s forecast for March/April/May. It looks good for WA at last – maybe due to these months still being cyclone prone.

Another new seasonal forecast model to add to your list of favourites, is one from USA. The ECPC (Experimental Climate Prediction Center) - Under “Global Seasonal Mean Anomalies” click the X for Precipitation/Feb11.
It shows 4 maps of the world showing forecasts in 3 month blocks.

So from the information I’ve gathered so far, plus our sub-soil moisture, plus all of our other concerns such as cash-flow, commodity prices etc, we have decided to sow more country to crop this year. There doesn’t seem to be the big signal of a wet harvest like there was last year. So we’ll take a chance!

Here is an interesting snippet from the ABC News website:

Coral helps shine light on rainfall records
Sigrid Brown, Thursday February 10, 2011 - 09:15 EDT

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) says it has been able to map hundreds of years worth of rainfall figures using coral from the Great Barrier Reef.

AIMS spokeswoman Dr Janice Lough says the research shows the frequency of extreme rainfall events has increased over the past 100 years.

She says corals have bands, like tree rings, that record freshwater levels in the ocean.

"What we've looked at is records of freshwater in near-shore corals - we see them as luminescent lines when we put the corals under ultraviolet light," she said.

"What we've done is measure the intensity of the luminescence which reflects river flow and hence rainfall.

"We've been able to reconstruct north-east Queensland's summer rainfall back to the 17th century.

"They're wonderful history books and they predate when we've been able to measure rainfall with rain gauges or river flows with gauges, so they triple the length of the records that we have to look at."

What an amazing story!

Next month I will have even more clues as to how 2011 will pan out. Stay tuned!

Last changed: Feb 09 2012



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