Autumn forecast to be warmer than usual

Autumn forecast to be warmer than usual


Grazing conditions in the Mallee and Wimmera are likely to start to improve following the recent rain.


Grazing conditions in the Mallee and Wimmera are likely to start to improve following the recent rain.

But farmers will be looking for follow-up falls soon.

The outlook for autumn shows north-east Victoria has slightly increased chances of being drier than average, and other parts having similar chances of being wetter or drier.

There's no sign yet that March or April will be particularly wetter or drier than normal.

In a typical autumn, north-west Victoria receives about 50 millimetres of rain, while parts of the south, far east, and elevated areas record more than 200mm.

The neutral rainfall outlook across Victoria, and indeed across much of Australia, is because our major climate drivers, the El Nio-Southern Oscillation and the Indian Ocean Dipole, are likely to remain neutral through autumn.

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM), the non-seasonal northward or southward shift of the westerly winds over the southern ocean, is likely to remain neutral in the coming fortnight.

We're moving into the time of year when SAM has its minimum influence on temperature and rainfall patterns over southern Australia.

The fifty-fifty rainfall outlook is also consistent with the Bureau of Meteorology's climate model forecast for close to normal mean sea level pressure over Victoria during autumn.

The model is also showing slightly more cloud cover over the state in March, but no large shift from average for the season overall.

Collectively, water storages on the east and south coast of Victoria are at a similar level to this time last year.

Water storages inland, in the Murray-Darling Basin have declined.

Overall, Victorian water storage is 42.2 per cent full, 7.9pc lower than this time last year.

Accessible water volumes across the whole Murray-Darling Basin are currently 31.2pc, 8.0pc lower than this time last year.

However, soil moisture levels are generally higher than this time last year across most of the state.

Temperatures are likely to remain close to or slightly warmer than usual in the coming months.

Both April and autumn overall are likely to have warmer days than average, but most of the state has a fifty-fifty outlook for March.

Minimum temperatures too are likely to be warmer than average in April and autumn and warmer than average in the south and east during March.

  • Jonathan Pollock is a BoM climatologist

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