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Weather News - End in sight for Adelaide's string of wet seasons

Ben Domensino, 28 February 2017

Adelaide's rainy run that has spanned the last five seasons may come to an end in autumn.

While parts of eastern Australia experienced record-breaking heat and sparse rainfall this summer, South Australia's capital city was much wetter than usual.

Adelaide received 167.4mm of rain from the start of December to the end of February, making it the city's wettest summer in 80 years and the third wettest on record. Adelaide usually receives 63mm of rain throughout the summer season.

This latest seasonal soaking follows Adelaide's wettest spring in 15 years, which included the city's fifth wettest September since records commenced in 1839. Above average rainfall was also recorded in Adelaide last autumn and summer.

Looking ahead, things are expected to take a drier turn this autumn. Higher-than-normal pressure over southern Australia is expected to limit the amount and intensity of rain-bearing systems reaching Adelaide. All of South Australia, including the capital, has a good chance of receiving below average rainfall between March and May.

Autumn could be the first drier-than-average season since Spring 2015 for Adelaide.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017

Weather News - Sydney's hottest summer

Ben Domensino, 1 March 2017

Sydney just endured its hottest summer in more than 150 years, setting a number of new records relating to heat.

The hottest season since record-keeping commenced 159 years ago included an unprecedented 26 days at or above 30 degrees in the city and 11 days over 40 degrees in Richmond.

The city also achieved new highs in terms of average minimum (20.9C), average maximum (28.7C) and combined average (24.8C) temperatures during summer. All three of these values were an impressive 2-3 degrees above the long-term average.

The city's 319mm of rain during the season was close to the long-term summer average, although most of this fell during the final three weeks of February.

Autumn is expected to be warmer than usual in Sydney. Rainfall should be near-to-below average despite a wet start this week.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017

Weather News - Will El Nino return in 2017?

Ben Domensino, 1 March 2017

The chance of El Nino forming during 2017 has recently increased according to the latest El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) wrap-up released by the Bureau of Meteorology on the final day of summer.

So, what are the chances of El Nino forming this year and what would this mean for weather in Australia?

The Pacific Ocean is currently shifting towards an El Nino-like pattern, with warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures near South America for the first time since June last year. The atmosphere above the Pacific Ocean is also beginning to show signs of the early stages of El Nino.

Despite this behaviour in the ocean and atmosphere to the east of Australia, it is too early to tell whether or not we are actually heading towards towards an El Nino.

While a number of computer models suggest the Pacific Ocean will continue to warm towards El Nino in coming months, there is too much uncertainty in these forecasts. The models used to monitor ENSO have less accuracy at this time of year and their forecasts should be taken with a grain of salt.

The Bureau of Meteorology currently give a 50 percent chance of El Nino forming during 2017 and have upgraded the ENSO outlook status to El Nino Watch. This will increase to Alert later in the year if the likelihood of El Nino increases to 70 percent or more.

El Nino events typically start and end in autumn and have their greatest influence on Australian weather during winter and spring, although they can stray from this average timeline.

The most common effects of El Nino in Australia are reduced rainfall across the eastern states and increased temperatures in much of the south and east, particularly later in the year. El Nino can also increase the risk of frost in parts of eastern Australia, delay the monsoon onset and reduce cyclone numbers in the tropics, increase fire danger in the southeast and decrease the snow depth and season length in Australia's alpine region.

The next ENSO outlook will be released by the Bureau of Meteorology on the 14th of March.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2017