The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed an earlier long-range forecast saying the wet season will again be delayed across the Top End.
In the second of three northern rainfall onset forecasts for the year, the bureau today said the prognosis was still gloomy for those looking for rain after a long dry season and our last poor wet season.
"The chance of an early northern rainfall onset for the 2019-20 season is below average over large parts of northern Australia," the bureau said.
" Areas which have a less than 40 per cent chance of an early rainfall onset include much of the NT, northern and eastern Queensland, and the far north of the Kimberley in WA.
"Much of the Top End of the NT, Cape York Peninsula, and coastal parts of Queensland have a less than 30 per cent chance of an early onset, or in other words, a greater than 70% chance of a late rainfall onset."
Katherine is well within the area the bureau says has below a 30 per cent chance of an early wet season start.
The northern rainfall onset outlook gives an indication of whether the first significant rains after the dry season are likely to be earlier or later than normal.
The reasons given by the bureau for its prediction are:
The El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently neutral, and forecasts indicate it is likely to remain neutral to at least the end of 2019. This means it is unlikely to be influencing the northern rainfall onset outlook towards either an earlier or later than average onset.
However, waters in the western tropical Pacific Ocean are currently warmer than normal, while water temperatures around northern Australia are average to cooler than average. This pattern would typically favour cloud formation away from northern Australia.
The Indian Ocean sea surface temperature pattern remains consistent with a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD). This is expected to persist for the coming months. A positive IOD typically leads to drier than average conditions across northern Australia during the second half of the year. IOD events typically break down in early December, so this driver is unlikely to have a significant influence on rains later in the season.
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