Climate outlook for February to April

Issued 11 January 2018

Climate outlook overview

  • The February to April rainfall outlook, issued 11 January 2018, shows most of eastern Queensland and WA are likely to have a wetter than average three months.
  • February is likely to be wetter than average for much of Australia, with strongest chances in the west.
  • February to April daytime and night-time temperatures are likely to be cooler than average for parts of western, northern and southeastern Australia, but warmer than average for Tasmania.
  • La Niña conditions are present in the tropical Pacific Ocean. This event is forecast to be short lived and weaker than the previous La Niña in 2010-12. See the Climate Influences section for more information.

Wetter three months likely for parts of western and eastern Australia

  • A wetter than average February to April is likely for most of eastern Queensland and Western Australia. Elsewhere, the chances of a wetter or drier February to April are roughly equal.
  • February is likely to be wetter than average for southern and western Australia, and eastern Queensland, including Far North Queensland, which has had a very dry start to its wet season. Chances are highest in central WA.
  • Weak La Niña conditions are present in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Models suggest this event will end by mid-autumn.
  • Historical outlook accuracy for February to April rainfall is moderate across northern and western parts of Australia, and patchy areas of the southeast. Elsewhere, accuracy is largely low to very low. See map for more detail.

Cooler three months likely for east and west; warmer in Tasmania

  • February to April daytime and night-time temperatures are likely to be cooler than average for parts of western, northern and southeastern Australia, but warmer than average for Tasmania.
  • Historical accuracy for maximum temperatures is moderate over most of Australia, except most of SA, southern Queensland, western NSW and central Victoria, where accuracy is low. Minimum temperature accuracy is patchy, with moderate accuracy broadly across eastern Australia, WA, and Tasmania.

Climate influences

  • Weak La Niña conditions are present in the tropical Pacific Ocean. Models suggest the La Niña will end by mid-autumn. The weakly wet signal for eastern Queensland reflects these weak La Niña conditions.
  • Additionally, waters have warmed to the northwest of Australia, encouraging lower pressure and increased likelihood of above average rainfall over February to April for much of WA.
  • In addition to the natural drivers such as the El Niño–Southern Oscillation and the IOD, Australian climate patterns are being influenced by the long-term increasing trend in global air and ocean temperatures.
  • Bureau climatologists continually monitor the climate for any significant developments, with information on El Niño/La Niña and IOD events available fortnightly via the ENSO Wrap-Up. For a summary of Pacific and Indian Ocean outlooks, please see the Climate Model Summary.