Highlight: Neutral ENSO/IOD but Australia is mostly soaking wet!
Fig. 1: Warm SSTA surrounding Australia motivates heavy rainfall in the latest 15-day forecast.
Fig. 2: Last week eastern Australia was hit with more excessive rainfall.
Discussion: ENSO is mostly neutral and the historic positive phase Indian Ocean Dipole of late last year has ended. However, the ocean surface across the tropical Indian Ocean, waters north and northeast of Australia and to the tropical Dateline remain very warm. When sea surface temperature anomalies (SSTA) are warmer than normal over a broad area in the tropics (Fig. 1) vast areas of thunderstorm activity including tropical cyclones develop. The area of convection is a source region for moisture across Australia and the recent rainfalls for the continent have been excessive. Drought is rapidly dissipating!
Last week rainfall amounts in the 5-10 in. range were widespread in Queensland to northern New South Wales (Fig. 2). Moderate rainfall occurred in Southeast Australia with excessive amount Interior Southwest Australia. The 15-day forecast indicates more heavy rains for western, northern and eastern Australia due to the anomalous warm waters surrounding the continent.