Multi-week and seasonal forecasts for Queensland Prawn Farms

Seasonal forecasting to improve resilience of prawn farms to future climate events

Prawn farm image Queensland Prawn Farm

This project was funded by the Australian Prawn Farmers Association over 2011-2012 (DEEDI Rural Resilience Industry Grant), with collaboration between the Australian Prawn Farmers Association, Bureau of Meterology and CSIRO.

The objectives were to improve the awareness of Queensland prawn farmers regarding the use of seasonal forecasts to enhance business planning, and to provide forecasts for both “typical conditions” and “extreme events”. Farm-specific forecasts for selected regions with quality long-term data records of pond temperatures are delivered individually.

Seasonal forecasts from coupled dynamical models such as POAMA can be used to predict regional air temperatures and rainfall on a fortnightly timescale up to 2-3 months into the future. Advance warning of particularly hot, cold or wet conditions allows for proactive management responses. These products are the first of their kind for prawn aquaculture in Australia. Similar products have been successfully developed for both Tasmania salmon aquaculture and wild southern bluefin tuna fisheries on the east coast of Australia, as well as coral bleaching prediction products for the Great Barrier Reef (see Links).

The information below contains forecast information for prawn farmers at several scales.

For more information on prawn aquaculture in Australia refer to the Australian Prawn Farmers Association.

National Forecasts

El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Forecast

For the Bureau’s operational forecasts, see the ENSO Outlook (

The El-Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) refers to the oscillation between El Niño and La Niña conditions.

El Niño events are associated with warmer than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific. They generally result in lower than average winter/spring rainfall over much of eastern Australia and a later than normal onset of the Australian monsoon. For more details on seasonal impacts of El Niño on Australian rainfall, click here.

Conversely, La Niña events are associated with cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. They generally result in higher than average winter, spring and early summer rainfall over much of Australia, and an earlier than usual onset of the Australian monsoon. For more details on seasonal impacts of La Niña on Australian rainfall, click here.

Tropical cyclone outlook

For the operational tropical cyclone outlook for the upcoming season, see the National Tropical Cyclone Outlook issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

The Australian tropical cyclone season typically runs from 1 November through 30 April. The National Tropical Cyclone Outlook for the upcoming tropical cyclone season is issued in October each year. For further enquiries, please contact Climate Prediction Manager on (03) 9669 4360 or email

A new forecasting system from the University of Tasmania predicted some six tropical cyclones this last season (2011/12). New forecasts for 2012/13 will be issued soon. For the forecast and more details, click here.

Seasonal forecasts of rainfall and temperature

Bureau operational POAMA forecasts for the upcoming season for rainfall ( and temperature (

Experimental POAMA forecasts of air temperature and rainfall for the upcoming season are also available. Access to these experimental products are available free of charge for trial/research purposes. Use the Request login user/password button on the POAMA experimental products webpage to register.

These experimental forecasts are also available focussed over the Queensland region specifically, by selecting “Queensland Region” from the middle dimension box.

For example:

Example page image

Multi-week forecasts of rainfall and temperature

Forecasts for periods of less than a season (upcoming weeks, fortnights and months) are also available on the POAMA experimental products webpage ( As above, the Queensland region can be specifically selected to focus in on the region.

Useful Links

Weather Information

Climate information

POAMA Seasonal Outlooks

Prawn Industry

Useful References