Australian weather bureau in massive backflip..not hot and warm for summer now..cold and wet instead
BRENDAN TREMBATH: There’s a big change in the national weather forecast for this summer. The weather bureau no longer expects an El Nino – the climate pattern that brings drought like conditions. Instead, the bureau predicts average rainfall this summer.
The chief climate forecaster says it’s the biggest turnaround in weather patterns since records began.
Martin Cuddihy reports.
MARTIN CUDDIHY: In the 21st century, Australia’s major weather pattern has been El Nino. It’s meant drought has dominated the landscape until the big rains of the past few years.
For climate forecasters, this summer was shaping up as deja vu, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting another El Nino – until today that is.
The manager of climate prediction services at the bureau, Dr Andrew Watkins, has changed the forecast.
ANDREW WATKINS: Come September, all of a sudden, the temperature started to cool down, the trade winds actually started to become a little bit enhanced, and the cloud patterns and other indicators like that headed away from El Nino.
So this is what we’re looking at as climatologists, giving us the heads up about what may happen over the next few months, and indeed what we’re seeing now is a backing off from those El Nino thresholds.
MARTIN CUDDIHY: Do we know why those changes have occurred – the cooling down, and the change in the trade winds?
ANDREW WATKINS: It’s actually quite an interesting question. The short answer is, no, we’re not quite sure yet. This will take a bit of teasing out to work out. It actually is quite a unique situation if we end up not going into an El Nino event.
It’ll sort of be the biggest turn around that we’ve actually seen in our records going back to about 1950, so quite unprecedented if we don’t go into an El Nino this year.
MARTIN CUDDIHY: Warming in the Pacific Ocean as recently as August pointed to another El Nino weather event. But the forecasters witnessed a huge turnaround. While it’s good news, they say they had never seen conditions change so quickly.
ANDREW WATKINS: When we go and look at our records of ocean temperatures in the tropical Pacific, we really haven’t reached the level that we reached, say, in early September, and then turned around away from El Nino.
Every time we’ve got that close to an El Nino, it’s actually settled in and indeed September, October is the normal time things bed down with these events. We actually haven’t seen a turnaround quite like that.
MARTIN CUDDIHY: No El Nino means it’s more likely to rain across much of the country.
ANDREW WATKINS: And we’re looking at actually increased likelihood of above normal rainfall totals through much of the Northern Territory, northwest Kimberly and WA, and even into western Queensland as well.
The weather bureau says the wet season is likely to arrive earlier than expected in the Northern Territory after a big change in Australia’s summer forecast.
In the biggest turnaround in weather patterns since records began, the bureau is no longer predicting an El Nino event, which brings drought-like conditions.
Forecaster Joel Lisonbee says it won’t make a big difference to the Territory’s weather but it will be a more “average” season than expected.
“Based on the forecast of a developing El Nino, we expected the monsoon to onset just a little bit late,” he said.
“But now that we are seeing things go back towards the average, we are expecting more of an average onset, which is right around the week of Christmas for us, late December.”
Mr Lisonbee says Territorians can still expect two or three cyclones to form this wet season.
It’s increasingly likely that a weak El Nino system is forming over the Pacific Ocean.
All seven models used by the Bureau of Meteorology indicate an El Nino could be declared as early as next month, and none predict a return to La Nina, which led to recent floods in eastern states.
El Nino typically brings drier than average conditions to eastern Australia.
The Bureau’s Dr Andrew Watkins says farmers should start managing for the risk of a dry season ahead.
“If things continue to develop as the models are suggesting, we’ll probably be in an event sometime in the next month,” he said.
“Basically all those models are going for a fairly mild event this time, but that doesn’t automatically mean that we’ll get weak impacts.
“It does up the odds at least of getting drier than normal conditions.”
the models were wrong?
i mean they didnt just get it wrong..they got it 180 degrees wrong!