Hel­ter swel­ter, it’s heat­ing up

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­DREW BACK­HOUSE

RES­I­DENTS are be­ing warned to pre­pare for swel­ter­ing weather in the next three months.

And the long- term chances of sig­nif­i­cant rain in Townsville are un­clear.

Bureau of Me­te­o­rol­ogy se­nior cli­ma­tol­o­gist Catherine Gan­ter said for the next three months there was a greater than 80 per cent chance of warmer days and nights com­pared to nor­mal.

“From what we can see there are much warmer than av­er­age sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures all the way across the east coast and that’s partly be­hind the warmer out­look,” she said.

Towns along the coast of Queens­land will be most af­fected by the warmer sea tem­per­a­tures.

The fore­cast could mean nights in par­tic­u­lar.

“It tends to af­fect min­i­mum tem­per­a­tures more,” Ms Gan­ter said.

Strict wa­ter re­stric­tions are in force warmer within the Townsville area and the Ross River Dam, which sup­plies wa­ter to the city, has dropped to 21 per cent ca­pac­ity.

Data shows rain­fall over the past three years has been in the low­est 10 per cent on record and Townsville City Coun­cil re­cently re­ferred to the sit­u­a­tion as “one of the dri­est pe­ri­ods we’ve ever had”.

Ms Gan­ter said the chances of wet­ter and drier con­di­tions in Au­gust and Oc­to­ber were about equal.

She said there were no cli­mate driv­ers af­fect­ing Aus­tralia’s weather pat­terns to­wards ei­ther wet­ter or drier than nor­mal.

The two main fac­tors that af­fect rain­fall in Aus­tralia are the El Nino and La Nina events.

El Nino events are associated with a warm­ing of the cen­tral and eastern trop­i­cal Pa­cific, while La Nina events are the op­po­site.

Wet­ter than nor­mal con­di­tions across eastern and north­ern Aus­tralia are associated with La Nina events. Ms Gan­ter said nei­ther of those driv­ers were af­fect­ing the cli­mate, leav­ing a sit­u­a­tion she de­scribed as “neu­tral”.

The bureau’s out­look for Au­gust to Oc­to­ber is a 95 per cent chance of less than 10mm of rain.

There is a very high chance of the tem­per­a­ture be­ing above the me­dian of 27.9C.

The warm fore­cast comes af­ter a record- break­ing warm July for Aus­tralia.

“In terms of pre­lim­i­nary data, July 2017 is likely to be Aus­tralia’s warm­est July for max­i­mum tem­per­a­tures on record,” Ms Gan­ter said.

The av­er­age max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture for July is likely to beat the pre­vi­ous record set in 1975 to be 2C above av­er­age. Of­fi­cial read­ings be­gan in 1910. And the un­sea­son­able warm con­di­tions will con­tinue.

“In Townsville it’s likely to be a de­gree warmer than nor­mal,” Ms Gan­ter said.

ARID: Townsville’s rain­fall over the past three years has been in the low­est 10 per cent on record.

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