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ARTICLES >> Environment Weather Watch

Weather Watch - May 2011

Posted by Bestprac on May 02 2011

by Susan Carn


don’t know about you, but my Easter long, long weekend was blessed with beautiful warm days and cool nights – just perfect for holidays. The country looks magnificent – green and lush with feed.

But now we are back to business and waiting for some opening rains to begin cropping, and to keep that feed growing now that there are lambs on the ground. So I find myself looking anxiously skywards as well as searching websites for an optimistic winter forecast!

The Bureau of Meteorology national outlook for the May to June period shows “a moderate to strong shift in the odds favouring a wetter than normal season over parts of eastern Australia”. The best chances “are between 60 and 75% over northeastern New South Wales and the southern half of Queensland, with the strongest odds on the Queensland/New South Wales border region”. For my patch, the odds are about even.

However the BOM experimental model POAMA is slightly less optimistic, especially for May.

The JAMSTEC forecast from Japan agrees somewhat with this, but they see June looking a bit wetter.

The Korean based APEC Climate Center forecast for the May to June period shows most of Australia having close to average conditions. This is an “Ensemble” forecast where different models from around the world are used. As for their seasonal temperature outlook, they say “It is likely that cold signals will occur in most parts of Australian continent”, meaning cooler than average. The APEC website is worth a look as they are doing some very interesting research. Their mission is “to enhance the socio-economic well-being of member economies by utilising up to date scientific knowledge and applying innovative climate prediction techniques”. For example, they have developed an experimental 6 month outlook, which can be viewed here.

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) is still at a strongly positive value. If it stays consistently positive then it can be a good indicator of what winter and spring rainfall may be like. Keep watching the updates on the Long Paddock website at the “Average SOI for last 30 days”.

The SOI is one of the indicators to La Nina. Some countries like Columbia are still feeling the effects of La Nina, with the wettest rainy season on record and continued flooding since December. Predictions suggest that the impact of La Nina will last until June in South America. So maybe we should count our blessings!


Source: This map is from the IRI (International Research Institute for Climate and Society).

Last changed: Feb 09 2012



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