The new year is upon us and should there be cause for optimism or pessimism on the weather front in the coming year?
In the belief that pessimism never achieved anything worthwhile, we should at least look for the optimistic signs.
After a very dry year, the patterns started to change from October 2018 and the past three months have brought partial relief in some areas. Variable weather patterns are always difficult to predict because they can affect some areas and miss others and it is impossible to forecast which areas will benefit more than a few days ahead.
This turn around developed despite a developing El Nino in the Pacific.
However the El Nino was different and to date, the atmosphere has not reflected an El Nino as much as the sea temperature patterns.
This is one feature that has not occurred before and therefore looking for similar years in the past on which to base a forecast has not been possible. The other factor present is warm ocean waters worldwide.
There is more energy stored in the world’s oceans that at any time in recorded history.
Although debate can continue on the causes of climate change, there is little doubt that the climate is changing and the world is becoming warmer.
That is now a factor we have to accept and look for ways of living with it effectively and beneficially. Unfortunately this is also something that has not occurred previously so once again looking for past years to assist in predicting the future trends are impossible.
Warm ocean waters around eastern Australia will encourage late summer and autumn rains in 2019.
However, the Indian Ocean is a little cooler off the north-west coast of the country and this could restrict autumn and early winter north-west cloud bands which can produce useful falls. The other advantage of north-west cloud bands is they can produce more uniform rain events rather than the variable and patchy ones we have been experiencing.
So all this means rain in eastern Australia in 2019 is likely to be better and more spread across the year than it was in 2018 but it is unlikely to be sufficient in some areas to overcome the severe deficiencies of the past year.
Temperatures are favoured to stay above normal generally but the occasional severe event is an increased possibility.
Whatever the weather I hope 2019 brings you all some cause for optimism and may you “weather” the next year in peace and contentment.
– DON WHITE, Weatherwatch