Bureau releases climate outlooks for December 2016 to February 2017
The Bureau of Meteorology released its monthly and seasonal climate outlooks for November 2016 to January 2017 today.
The outlook indicates:
- Drier-than-average conditions likely in the east, wetter than average in the northwest; drier likely for most of the country in December
- Warmer-than-average days and nights likely in the east and northern tropics; cooler in the far south
- Climate influences include a neutral El Niño–Southern Oscillation and above-average ocean temperatures to Australia's northwest
- A northward shift in the usual position of the westerly winds to Australia's south—known as the Southern Annular Mode—is the dominant influence in December
This outlook is strongly influenced by a climate driver called the Southern Annular Mode (also known as SAM). It is expected to be in a negative phase in December. When this happens in summertime, weather systems are further north than usual, meaning Australia experiences higher pressures than normal. This is typically associated with reduced rainfall and higher temperatures. The Pacific Ocean, though in a neutral ENSO phase, is tilting slightly towards La Niña, increasing sea surface temperatures in the western Pacific Ocean, including around northern Australia. This may be raising the likelihood of increased rainfall over northwest WA during summer.
To view the outlook, go to: www.bom.gov.au/climate/outlooks/#/overview/summary