No real relief in sight: Bureau warns of ‘hotter, drier’ days ahead

THE Bureau of Meteorology has warned of a hot, dry spring across much of Australia, following what has been one of the country’s warmest winters on record.

The weather bureau released its official 2018 Spring Outlook on Thursday and it’s not good news.

Manager of long range forecasting Dr Andrew Watkins said sadly, there was no sign of the drought-breaking rain that our farmers have been so desperately longing for.


With much of the eastern mainland experiencing an exceptionally dry 2018, Dr Watkins said a lot of rain was needed to break the the big dry.

“Like all Australians, all of us at the Bureau of Meteorology are hoping those affected by the drought will get the rain they need soon,” he said.

“Unfortunately, our outlooks show odds favouring a drier and warmer than average spring for many areas.”

The weather bureau’s official outlook suggests rainfall in spring is likely to be below-average for much of the country, particularly in southern NSW, Victoria and southwest WA.

Daytime temperatures are also expected to be warmer-than-average, particularly in the north and west.

With low rainfall and clear cloudless skies, the weather bureau says the risk of cold nights and frost will continue in the south, but warmer than normal overnight lows are likely elsewhere.

Dr Watkins said while the El-Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) – one of Australia’s main climate drivers – was currently in a neutral phase, the Bureau’s ENSO Outlook was at El Niño Watch.

He said this meant the chances of an El Niño forming in the coming Spring was 50% – roughly double the normal chances.

“Traditionally El Niño events result in warmer and drier than average conditions across eastern Australia,” Dr Watkins said.

“However, it is important to remember that the strength of an El Niño event doesn’t always translate into the conditions we see.

“For example, in the past we’ve had strong El Niño events accompanied by mild conditions and weaker El Niño events accompanied by severe conditions.

“A number of international models are also predicting a positive Indian Ocean Dipole event could potentially develop during spring which would further exacerbate the drying trend.”

The 2018 Spring Outlook is the first end-of-month seasonal outlook produced using the Bureau’s upgraded climate outlook model.

The new model better simulates regional climate patterns, providing more accurate and localised outlooks than was previously possible using past models.