Two months’ worth of rain has fallen in the agricultural regions of South Australia and Victoria during the last 24 hours, with some areas breaking records for this time of the year.
While the tropical Pacific remains neutral in terms of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), there are signs El Niño may develop in 2017.
Cyclone Debbie, which brought destructive winds and flooding to the coastal regions of southern Queensland and north east NSW last week, produced more benign, beneficial rainfall for much of the inland grain belt from Central Queensland to north west NSW.
Australian grain growers should take into account both the Pacific Ocean El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) index and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) when assessing the climate outlook for winter cropping seasons.
While south-eastern Australia sweltered through record heatwaves over summer, Western Australia recorded a cool, wet start to the year with widespread flooding across the south-west.
For Australia’s climate, 2016 was a year of two halves. The year started with one of the strongest El Niño events on record; the opening months were generally hot and dry; from May onwards there was a dramatic change in the pattern, with heavy rain and flooding; overall temperatures were the fourth warmest on record, capping off Australia’s hottest decade.
The development of a La Niña weather pattern – which typically means increased rainfall, cooler maximum temperatures and greater cyclone activity – is no longer likely in the coming months, according to the latest outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Radar images showing real-time rainfall and wind conditions across the south-central Great Southern region of Western Australia are now available online from the State’s newest Doppler radar site at Newdegate.
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting a return to a more active tropical cyclone season in 2016–17.
This spring and coming summer could herald the arrival of an El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climatic condition called La Niña Modoki which could potentially assist moisture flow into the central and northern farming areas of eastern Australia.