Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology

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A dry autumn forecast for most of Australia


The Bureau of Meteorology has released its long-range forecast for autumn 2023 and it indicates coming months are likely to be drier and warmer than usual across most of Australia.

Warmer than usual daytime temperatures are very likely this autumn for much of Australia, while warmer nights are also likely in coastal areas of the mainland and particularly Tasmania.

Bureau of Meteorology Technical Lead Extended Prediction Dr Andrew Watkins said drier than average conditions have emerged in some areas over summer, including parts of southern Queensland, western Tasmania and south-west Western Australia.

"Australia's key climate drivers are easing and expected to be neutral over the coming months. When our climate drivers are more neutral, autumn rainfall in southern Australia has generally been lower than average over recent decades,” Dr Watkins said.

La Niña is nearing its end in the Pacific Ocean, with conditions likely to be neutral (neither El Niño nor La Niña) during autumn. The Indian Ocean Dipole is neutral and has little influence on Australia's climate during the northern wet season, which extends through until April.

“With drier conditions emerging in some areas over summer, and dry and warm conditions likely in autumn, some areas may continue to have below average rainfall over coming months,” Dr Watkins said.

Australia's fire agencies have identified that most of Australia has normal bushfire potential during autumn. However, areas of above normal bushfire risk include parts of New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia.

There is also a continued risk of grassfires across southern Australia after abundant vegetation growth during the second-wettest spring on record in 2022 dried over summer.

For northern Australia, the wet season continues during March and April. Tropical cyclones, tropical lows, storms and active monsoon bursts can occur in the north.

During the northern wet season, tropical weather systems may, at times, reach southern Australia. The chance of more rainfall means the flood risk remains, particularly in areas where rivers and water storages are still high.

Communities are encouraged to stay up to date with forecasts and warnings through the Bureau's website and BOM Weather app.

Summer 2022-23 snapshot

While it was wetter than average summer for most of northern Australia, large areas in the south have had a drier than average summer.

North Queensland had well above average rainfall this summer. However, rainfall in parts of south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales was well below average.

It has been a much drier summer than usual for southern and inland parts of Western Australia, western Victoria and western Tasmania.

There have been 4 tropical cyclones in the Australian region between November 2022 and the end of February 2023.

Ex-tropical cyclone Ellie brought heavy rainfall and flooding to northern areas of Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland contributing to above average summer rainfall in these areas.

Summer days were warmer than average in Tasmania, western and central regions of Western Australia, and large parts of South Australia.

Daytime temperatures were cooler than average across most of the Northern Territory and most of Queensland.

Top temperatures for this past summer in Australia's capital cities were:

  • Adelaide 41.0 °C on 27 December
  • Melbourne 40.5 °C on 17 February
  • Perth 39.5 °C on 21 January
  • Hobart 36.7 °C on 17 February
  • Canberra 36.1 °C on 18 February
  • Darwin 36.1 °C on 2 December
  • Brisbane 35.7 °C on 12 February
  • Sydney 30.6 °C on 3 February.

For further information:

  • Summer 2022-23 summary:
  • The Bureau's long-range forecasts are updated regularly on the Bureau's website
  • Detailed summaries for summer conditions for each state, territory and major capital city will be published on Friday 3
  • The Autumn 2023 Bushfire Outlook for Australia will be released on 2 March by the National Council for fire and emergency services (AFAC)