Bureau predicts warm and dry winter
THE Bureau of Meteorology has now released its 2018 Winter Outlook, with warmer and drier than average conditions expected across large parts of the country.
The winter outlook follows one of Australia’s warmest autumns on record and its second-warmest summer on record.
In Victoria, 2018 has been in the top five warmest autumns on record for daytime temperatures.
It has also been dry in most parts of the state, especially in the north and the east.
According to the bureau, it’s likely that this autumn will have been one of the top 10 driest on record.
The outlook suggests winter rainfall is likely to be below average for New South Wales, South Australia, northern Victoria and western parts of Western Australia.
The shift towards drier conditions is particularly strong for areas around the Murray Darling Basin, eastern NSW and northern Victoria, which have a 7080 per cent chance of below average rainfall.
Elsewhere around the country and along the coast in Victoria, the chances of exceeding average rainfall are roughly 50 per cent.
Daytime temperatures across much of the country are likely to be warmer than average, with the greatest chance (more than 80 per cent) in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania.
Overnight temperatures are also expected to be above average across the country, except for parts of the tropical north.
Australia’s main climate drivers, El-Nino - Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are currently in a neutral phase, meaning there is no strong shift in the outlook towards widespread wetter or drier conditions.
Bureau climatologist Jonathan Pollock said when ENSO and IOD are neutral, other climate drivers have a greater influence.
“We’re expecting warmer than normal temperatures in the Tasman Sea this winter and associated lowerthan-normal air pressure,” Mr Pollock said.
“This would mean a weakening of westerly winds over southern Australia that normally draw cold fronts up from the Southern Ocean.
“The outlook for winter in Victoria sees a more than 80 per cent chance that maximum temperatures will be warmer than average.
“As a result of this, we’re expecting to see below average winter rainfalls for western parts of Western Australia and for most of New South Wales extending across the border into southern Queensland and northern Victoria.
“For most other parts the chances of above or below average rainfall is roughly equal.”
Mr Pollock said snowfall would also be of particular interest as we head into winter.
“Snowfall is difficult to predict over long time frames but the dry outlook for June suggests a later than normal start for the snow season,” he said.
“However, when ENSO and IOD are neutral we have historically seen deeper-than-average snow cover by mid-season.”