Contact Details:

Australian Wool Innovation Limited
Emily King
Manager, Woolgrower Education & Capacity Building
ARTICLES >> Environment Weather Watch

Weather Watch - May 2012

Posted by Bestprac on May 01 2012

By Susan Carn

In mid April I went to the Adelaide Bureau of Meteorology Climate Forum, thanks to an invite from Darren Ray (Senior Meteorologist/Climatologist). It was attended by representatives from government and industry, for example SA Water, PIRSA, CFS, Windfarms etc.

There were presentations from several BOM personnel on several topics such as: Putting the recent wet years in perspective, Historical temperature record keeping review, Multi-week forecasting tools, Progress of a new heat-wave index, Climate trends analysis for SA industry and the all important Outlook for the remainder of 2012.

Bearing in mind it was primarily an SA outlook, here are the main points:

  • In a nut shell - not real flash!
  • Expect another dry autumn. This is a continuing trend which is believed to be due, in part, to a strengthening of the Sub Tropical Ridge. (STR determines where high pressure systems, which can block rain bearing systems,)
  • Sub-soil moisture (although quite good) is less than this time last year which was illustrated using these maps of January to March rainfall deciles.
  • This is attributed to the La Nina this summer not being as strong as the previous year.
  • The showers coming at the end of April can’t really be termed an opening, but there may be some more in May. (This certainly proved to be the case for me as we only got a few drops, although some areas south and west fared quite well, I hear.)
  • Overall it is expected that May and June may be dryer than average and warmer than average.
  • There is a hint in the Pacific Ocean that an El Nino may form later in the year. But let’s not panic yet!
  • Better news is that a weak negative IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) may form ininter/spring – that could improve rain chances.
  • Darren Ray said the IOD will at least be neutral if not negative. This is good – as long as that El Nino doesn’t form!

Rainfall deciles 2012









Images (above and below) - Rainfall Deciles for 2011 compared to 2012 (Source

Rainfall deciles 2011






So how does this outlook impact on my decision making this year? For cropping decisions, I will take the information regarding sub-soil moisture levels, combined with a dryer autumn/average winter, more seriously than I did last year. In 2011 we pinned all our hopes on high SSM only to be thwarted by a dry winter (which had been forecast). We are still waiting for an opening rain and, as I write, there is nothing much coming in the next fortnight at least.

As for sheep, I think our decision, made back in November, to lamb earlier has proven a sound one for the second time in a row. Thanks to good summer and early autumn feed we have plenty of healthy lambs on the ground and ewes in good condition. With our dry April and possibly May, a later lambing may have proved detrimental.

A lot of the information given at the forum was regarding BOM projects and products still being developed, and I will bring you more information as soon as I can.

Last changed: May 02 2012



None Found

Add Comment