Spring outlook for Australia’s eastern and southern states is rainier, cooler weather

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts a shift toward La Niña-like conditions associated with more rainfall for the east, but drier conditions in the west

Large parts of eastern Australia can expect a rainier and cooler spring, while much of the west can expect drier than usual weather.

After a sunny end to winter, the Bureau of Meteorology’s long-range outlook for spring is for above average rainfall for southern and eastern Australia, with cooler daytime temperatures.

Felicity Gamble, a senior climatologist at the bureau, said this was driven by a negative phase of the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), which typically brings wetter than usual conditions to those regions during winter and spring.

Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Northern Territory could all expect more rain through spring.

She said models were showing a shift toward La Niña-like conditions, which are also associated with more rainfall, but a declaration of a La Niña was unlikely.

“The model doesn’t really suggest we’re likely to go into a full La Niña event, but some cooling of the ocean temperatures in the central tropical Pacific have been enough to be conducive for rainfall patterns to be above average in Australia,” Gamble said.

In Tasmania, the outlook is for wetter weather in the north-east and drier than usual conditions in the far west.

Western Australia meanwhile could experience a drier spring, with the dry signal expected to be strongest in the state’s south. Parts of the state’s east could receive more rainfall than usual.

The BoM said the negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) was expected to persist through spring but it was weaker than the last negative IOD in 2016, which brought Australia’s wettest May-October period on record.

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Gamble said daytime temperatures were expected to be cooler in much of the country’s east because of the overcast weather. But the extra cloud would mean night-time temperatures may be slightly above average.

South and central Australia and southern WA are also likely to be cooler during the day.

In NSW the cooler temperatures will affect most of the state, except for the area from Sydney down to the state’s south coast, where warmer ocean temperatures could contribute to above average daytime temperatures.

Southern Victoria and Tasmania are also likely to see warmer than average temperatures.

Meanwhile the bushfire outlook for spring suggests there is above average fire potential in south-eastern Queensland and northern NSW, where winter rainfall has driven grass and crop growth.

Grass growth and dry soil have also resulted in above normal potential for fires in northern Western Australia.

There is a lower than normal chance of fire in Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and the remainder of New South Wales, including areas affected by the 2019-20 fires disaster where vegetation continues to recover.


Lisa Cox

The GuardianTramp

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