The Bureau of Meteorology has released its 2018 Winter Outlook, with warmer and drier than average conditions expected across large parts of the country.
The winter outlook follows one of Australia’s warmest autumns on record and its second-warmest summer on record. Southern mainland Australia has also had one of its driest autumns on record.
Bureau climatologist Jonathan Pollock says Australia’s main climate drivers, El-Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) are currently in a neutral phase, meaning there is no strong shift in the outlook towards widespread wetter or drier conditions.
“We’re expecting to see below average winter rainfalls for western parts of Western Australia and for most of New South Wales extending across the border into southern Queensland and northern Victoria. For most other parts the chances of above or below average rainfall is roughly equal.”
“We’re expecting warmer than normal temperatures in the Tasman Sea this winter and associated lower-than-normal air pressure. This would mean a weakening of westerly winds over southern Australia that normally draw cold fronts up from the Southern Ocean.”.
The shift towards drier conditions is particularly strong for areas around the Murray Darling Basin and eastern NSW which have a 70-80 % chance of below average rainfall. Elsewhere around the country, the chances of exceeding average rainfall are roughly 50 %.
Daytime temperatures across much of the country are likely to be warmer than average and overnight temperatures are also expected to be above average across the country, except for parts of the tropical north.