Australia expects warmer, wetter winter; rules out El Niño event

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Australia’s winter will probably be warmer than average, particularly across its grain-growing eastern regions, with a hotter Indian Ocean likely to bring rain to some areas, the weather bureau said on Thursday.

With the dispersal of the La Niña weather phenomenon that brought devastating east coast floods this year, the main factor driving forecast conditions is ocean temperatures that are above average.

A warmer Indian Ocean may increase moisture levels and trigger some rainfall in the north during the usually dry winter months from June to August, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

“We’re not getting El Niño or La Niña bringing particularly dry, nor particularly wet, conditions,” said senior bureau official Lynette Bettio.

“We are seeing that strong shift towards above average rainfall in northern Australia, thought we do have to remember it’s still the dry season there, so those rainfall totals aren’t likely to be large.”

Rainfall is likely to be higher than usual in much of the central, eastern and southern regions, she added. But some parts of the south and west could be drier than average this winter.