Long Paddock

Commentary on rainfall probabilities based on phases of the SOI

Previous commentary

Seasonal climate outlook message for August to October 2014

Commentary on rainfall probabilities based on 'phases' of the SOI

The monthly value of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) was -0.8 for June and -4.0 for July. According to the SOI Phase system, this places the SOI in a ‘Consistently Near-Zero’ phase.

Based on previous years when the SOI has been in a 'Consistently Near-Zero' phase at the end of July, the  probability of above-median rainfall for the next three-month period (August to October) is less than 50 per cent for most of Queensland, with lower probabilities for parts of northern and eastern Queensland.

Previous years with a ‘Consistently Near-Zero’ SOI phase at the end of July include 1902, 1904, 1907, 1908, 1913, 1915, 1922, 1927, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1935, 1942, 1944, 1953, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1966, 1967, 1969, 1971, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1990, 1991, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. The rainfall probabilities stated above are based on the 1900 to 1998 period and do not include 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009.

When using a climate outlook it should be remembered that the probability, or per cent chance, of something occurring is just that – a probability. For example, if there is a 70 per cent probability of above-median rainfall, then there is also a 30 per cent chance of below-median rainfall. It does not mean that rainfall will be 70 per cent more than the median.

Users should note that while climate outlook schemes cannot provide outlooks with absolute certainty, users who follow a skilful scheme should benefit from doing so in the long-term. Thus, users should consider the historical track record of any scheme, and such information is becoming increasingly available.

Further seasonal climate outlook information for Queensland is available in the monthly climate statement produced by the Department of Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts and at www.bom.gov.au

 

Last updated 18 March 2011

Seasonal climate outlook