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Main climate drivers suggest little change for northern Australia - for now
The two drivers of climate in Australia's north - the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) and El Niño - continue to have little effect on the country, though in the case of El Niño that could change later in the year.
The BoM's Weekly Tropical Climate Note* for 18 April says the MJO, after a period when it was hard to discern anywhere, has emerged in the western hemisphere. Models say it will stay fairly stationary, and are undecided on any future movement it may take. The norm when the MJO is absent like this is that convection is reduced over northern Australia and rainfall, particularly in NE Australia, is reduced. The current MJO situation with a clear explanation of how it works is here.
The El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) remains neutral, although sea surface temperatures remain above average in the eastern Pacific where they have been bringing disastrous rain and flooding to Peru and Colombia. They are still forecast to increase in the second half of 2017 bringing a likelihood they will cross into El Niño territory, though this still has the caveat that models have a lower accuracy at this time of year.
Heavy rain in NT, SA and VIC from northwest rain band
Rain, with thunderstorms and some heavy falls, has been moving across SA and entered VIC today after giving parts of southwestern NT a soaking yesterday and early this morning.
Thunderstorms gave two of the sparse weather stations in NT's southwest some torrential rain yesterday evening, with Yulara Airport near Uluru catching 18mm in 14 minutes to 19.00 in an event total of 34.6mm. Wulungurru (Kintore) to its NW had a steadier drenching with 69.2mm falling in the 24 hours to 09.00 this morning, its heaviest April one-day total in a 14-year history.
The rain moved into southwestern SA late yesterday afternoon and extended east to arrive around Adelaide this morning. It gave patchy falls but many places received 10 to 30mm. Roseworthy, 45km N of Adelaide, had the top fall of 62.6mm for the event to 19.00 this evening, 30mm of that falling in in one downpour that lasted 45 minutes. As the day progressed, the rain moved into western VIC, with many stations recording between 10 and 35mm of rain to 10pm, though Walpeup, 100km S of Mildura had 48mm in the gauge.
Ahead of the rain, temperatures were way above normal in the NW airstream over TAS in a run of warm days. Cape Sorell on the West Coast set a new April record of 23.5° in a 20-year history. Weatherzone* points out that the 25.4° maximum at Launceston City was its highest for this late in the season since records began in 1980, and many other locations around the state had tops in the mid-twenties.