The rainfall outlook for winter this year.
The rainfall outlook for winter this year.

Why Gatton has a relatively high chance of a wet winter

IT’S the news everyone has been hoping for – we could be in for a wet winter.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s winter outlook was released this week, and the map is awash with blue.

Acting senior climatologist Jonathan Pollock said the chances of a wet winter for the region were extremely good.

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“As we move into June and into winter, the outlook is showing very high chances of above average rainfall for most of the country, and that includes the area around Gatton,” Mr Pollock said.

“The odds for Gatton are about 87 per cent – so quite high chances.”

The positive outlook is down to shifts in temperatures in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The Indian Ocean Dipole, a major climate driver for Australia, had been in a strong positive phase for much of the past two years – causing hot, dry conditions.

But Mr Pollock explained the IOD had all changed in the past few months.

“It ended in December, and then the Pacific and the Indian Ocean have both been fairly neutral,” he said.

“But the models really favour a negative Indian Ocean Dipole developing from about midwinter.”

This negative phase has the reverse effect of a positive IOD, significantly increasing the chances of above average rainfall.

Maximum temperature outlook for winter this year.
Maximum temperature outlook for winter this year.

Temperatures are also expected to be warmer during both the day and night across the winter months.

Mr Pollock said warmer temperatures were due to a number of factors.

“Part of the higher chance of warmer than average night times is to do with that extra cloud cover we might get, along with extra rainfall,” he said.

“But for maximum temperature it’s a bit more complicated – the other factor that’s in play is obviously the long-term trend of climate change.”

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Models are also predicting the chance of a La Nina event developing in mid-spring, which would increase chances of more rainfall.

But the models aren’t in total agreement yet, and Mr Pollock said there would be a clearer picture of the outlook for spring later in year.


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