Rainfall is likely to be below average across much of Australia over the coming months, while temperatures are expected to be above average across most of the country, according to the latest climate outlook from the Bureau of Meteorology.
Rainfall from March to May is likely to be below average across much of northern, eastern and southwestern Australia.
During the same period, maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be above average across almost the entire country.
The percentage probability of exceeding the average maximum temperatures. Image: bill of materials
Unusually high maximum temperatures are at least three times more likely than normal across most of the northern half of Australia, western Western Australia and northeastern Tasmania.
Meanwhile, unusually high minimum temperatures are at least three times more likely than normal across much of western and northern Australia.
BOM said the forecast was influenced by several factors, including globally record warm oceans and a weakening El Nino.
Earlier this week, BOM Director Andrew Johnson led a federal parliamentary hearing and was questioned about his agency’s performance, including the accuracy of its forecasts following the devastating impact of former Tropical Cyclone Jasper and other recent severe storms.
Johnson argued that his staff had done an “excellent job,” adding that communities received several days’ notice before major weather events occurred.
“I think the performance of our people – giving the community that level of advance warning – just wouldn’t have been possible in years past,” he said.
The percentage probability of exceeding the average precipitation. Image: bill of materials
Johnson said BOM’s performance was exceptional and its forecasts excellent.
He also said BOM could not be responsible for the media’s reporting of weather events.
“What I saw this summer is, frankly, a catastrophization of a whole range of weather events,” he said.