NSW Seasonal Conditions Summary July 2015

Highlights

  • Rainfall during June was average to above average across most of NSW. Above average rainfall occurred across most of western NSW and the west of the Riverina.
  • There is a near-equal chance of wetter or drier than normal conditions and warmer or cooler than normal daytime temperatures across most of NSW between July and September. Overnight temperatures are likely to be warmer over eastern, northern, central and southern NSW.
  • During July, wetter than normal conditions are likely in the west and areas of central NSW, with cooler daytime temperatures likely across inland NSW. Across the coast and south east there is a near-equal chance of cooler or warmer than normal daytime temperatures. Overnight temperatures are likely to be warmer in the east, and cooler in the far south west.
  • An El Niño event is continuing, is likely to strengthen into spring and continue through summer. Reduced spring rainfall, higher daytime temperatures and an increased risk of frost are likely. Average to warm sea surface temperatures to the north west and north east of Australia have been a positive influence for potential rainfall.
  • Topsoil moisture levels improved across much of inland NSW and remained stable on the coast. Subsoil moisture levels were generally stable, but remain low areas of the north west and western Riverina. Farm water supplies are variable, with run off reasonable in some areas but limited in others.
  • Pasture growth improved across most of inland NSW, was maintained on the coast but slowed over the tablelands.
  • Late sowing of winter crops continued during June. Establishment of earlier sown crops has been good, although variable and slow in some areas of the south west and central west. Forage crops are showing good production, particularly on the tablelands and slopes.
  • Resources to assist in management for areas suffering poor rainfall and growth are available at Managing in drought.

Overview

Rainfall during June was average or above across most of the state. Above average rainfall occurred across 53 per cent of NSW, covering much of western, central and southern NSW. Below average rainfall occurred over 8 per cent of NSW, and was confined to areas of the northern and central tablelands, central west and mid-north to north coast.

Pasture growth improved across most of northern, central and southern NSW, but slowed across areas of the tablelands and slopes as temperatures fell. Growth across coastal areas was slow but relatively stable. Waterlogging restricted pasture growth in low lying areas of the mid-north to north coast and Hunter valley.

Relative to historical records June pasture growth improved across central western and northern NSW, particularly across the far north west. There were some areas of low growth in the western and central Riverina and areas of the north west. Relative growth was near average across the remainder of the state.

Supplementary feeding is underway in areas of north western, southern and south western NSW, and in tablelands districts (particularly with breeding stock).

Biomass levels improved across the far west and central areas of NSW. Biomass remained low across areas of the north west, the tablelands and along the coast.

Sowings of early maturing winter crops continued into June, with limited resowing due to waterlogging. Late sowings of wheat and chickpeas occurred in areas of the north west. Earlier sown crops have established well across most of the cropping belt. In areas of the south west and the central west, moisture stress (prior to the June rainfall) slowed crop establishment and growth, particularly of wheat and canola. Forage crops are producing well, particularly on the tablelands and slopes.

Topsoil moisture levels improved across most of central, southern and north western NSW and were maintained across the tablelands and coast. Topsoil moisture also improved across the northern areas of the far west. Subsoil moisture remains marginal over the far north western and south western areas of the cropping belt, as well as the north of the central west. It is moderate across the tablelands and slopes and high along the coastal strip.

Streamflow analysis over the last twelve months shows continued improvement in run off across much of the coast and Hunter valley, with areas of the mid-north to north coast experiencing waterlogging. Improvements also occurred in the far west.

Despite the June rainfall, the streamflow analysis showed continued low run off across much of central and north western NSW, the Riverina, far south and most of the tablelands. Some localities within these areas have reported receiving run off, but stock water levels are low to near critical in others.

NSW Seasonal Conditions Report – July 2015

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Seasonal outlook

There is a near-equal chance of drier or wetter than normal conditions and warmer or cooler than normal daytime temperatures across most of NSW between July and September. Warmer than normal daytime temperatures are likely across areas of coastal and far south eastern NSW.

Warmer than normal overnight temperatures are likely over eastern, northern, central and southern NSW. There is a near equal chance of warmer or cooler than normal overnight temperatures across central and southern areas of the far west.

During July, wetter than normal conditions are likely across much of the western NSW, the north and east of the central west, southern areas of the northern slopes and plains, the upper Hunter valley and the central tablelands. 

There is a near-equal chance of drier or wetter than normal conditions across most of the remainder of NSW. Drier than normal conditions are likely in the far south and south east. Cooler than normal daytime temperatures are likely across most of inland NSW. Across coastal and areas of southern NSW, there is a near-equal likelihood of cooler or warmer than normal daytime temperatures. 

There is a near-equal chance of cooler or warmer than normal overnight temperatures across most of central and far north western NSW. Warmer than normal overnight temperatures are likely along most of the coast and the northern slopes, the northern and central tablelands, the Hunter valley and areas of the southern tablelands. Cooler than normal overnight temperatures are likely in the far south west.

The pasture growth outlook for July to September suggests near average growth for the coast, the east of the tablelands and the Hunter valley. Above average growth is suggested for the Monaro. 

Below average growth is suggested for areas of the north west, the west of the tablelands, the south of central NSW and the Riverina. Above average growth is suggested for western NSW. Skill levels are moderate to high across most of NSW. 

The growth outlook is based on a consistently negative SOI in May/June, and a probability of below average rainfall across much of inland NSW and average rainfall across the coast during July to September. Note that as the Bureau of Meteorology's outlook is for a near-equal probability of above or below average rainfall across the state, pasture growth could be better than indicated.

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

After a brief rise in the SOI and reduction in cloud at the junction of the equator and International Date Line, these indicators returned to El Niño levels. Sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific have continued to rise. Recently, the Madden-Julian oscillation and a rare July cyclone have intensified trade wind reversal in the western and central equatorial Pacific, which may result increased warming. The El Niño event has continued to intensify and is likely to persist through spring and summer. The Bureau of Meteorology's ENSO tracker status remains at 'El Niño'.

The NOAA Climate Prediction Centre and International Research Institute for Climate and Society in the USA have indicated that (based on their thresholds and indicators) the El Niño event is currently moderate, with some models suggesting a strong event is likely through spring and early summer.

An El Niño event is generally associated with below-average rainfall across NSW (particularly inland NSW) during winter and spring, above average daytime temperatures, lower than average streamflow and an increased risk of frost. The effects of the El Niño event to date have been moderated by average to warm sea surface temperatures to the north west, north and north east of Australia, providing potential sources of moisture for NSW. However, a cooling trend is evident in some areas.

Warm sea surface temperatures anomalies extend across the central and eastern equatorial Pacific, and strengthened during June. All NINO indices (as at 5 July) are more than 1.3°C above normal. In the far east, the sea surface temperatures are more than 2.2°C above normal.

Sub-surface warm temperature anomalies remain across most of the central to eastern equatorial Pacific to a depth of 100-200 m. A cool anomaly present at depth in the west has moved eastwards, but is weakening. Some weakening of the warm sub-surface temperatures at depth in the central equatorial Pacific has occurred as a result. However, further strong trade wind reversals in this area may result in increased warming once again.

During early-late June, the SOI rose, the trade winds returned to a near-normal pattern and cloud at the junction of the equator and International Date Line was near normal. This indicated a possible weakening of atmospheric coupling with the Pacific Ocean. Since then, the indicators have returned to El Niño levels. The SOI is strongly negative at -16.7 (as at 5 July), trade wind reversals have intensified in the western and central Pacific and cloud at the equator and Date Line is near normal to increasing.

Climatic outlook summary

NSW Seasonal Outlook Current outlook Previous outlook
Quarterly Rainfall

Near neutral – neutral
(most of NSW)

Drier
(far south east)

Drier
(areas of northern, central, eastern NSW)

Neutral
(far west, far south west, far north east)

Quarterly Maximum Temperature

Near neutral – neutral
(most of NSW)

Warmer
(coast, far south east)

Near neutral
(far west, far south west)

Warmer
(northern, eastern, central NSW)

Quarterly Minimum Temperature

Warmer
(northern, eastern, central, southern NSW)

Near neutral
(central and southern areas of far west)

Warmer
(northern, eastern, southern, south eastern NSW)

Near neutral
(central areas of far west, areas of central NSW)

El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
ENSO (overall) El Niño El Niño
BoM ENSO Tracker Status El Niño El Niño
SOI Negative Negative
Pacific Ocean (NINO3.4)

Warm
(Above El Niño thresholds)

Warm
(Above El Niño threshold and warming)

Indian Ocean (IOD) Neutral - positive Neutral
Southern Annular Mode (SAM/AAO) Moderately positive Near neutral – weakly negative

Rainfall and temperature

During June, rainfall across the state ranged from 5-249 mm. Falls over most of the state ranged from 25-100 mm. Areas of the west, north west, central west, coast and south received 50-100 mm. Some areas of the far west received 5-25 mm.

Rainfall across areas of the north west near Brewarrina was 10-25 mm. Similar falls occurred across the west of the central tablelands, adjacent areas of the central west and areas of the north coast and northern tablelands. The highest recordings of more than 100 mm were around Bourke, in the alpine areas and across limited areas of the south and far north coast.

Average daytime temperatures were close to normal across NSW during June. In western NSW, the maximum temperature anomaly was generally up to 1°C below normal. Across the east and north of the state, the anomalies were generally 0.3°C above normal. Some areas in the far north and the alpine areas had maximum temperature anomalies of 1-2°C above normal.

Average overnight temperatures were 0.7°C above normal across NSW during June. Overnight temperatures were generally 1-2°C warmer than normal in the north and north west and 1-2°C cooler in the south. Temperatures were near-normal across the north of the central west, the northern slopes, northern tablelands, Hunter valley and central to mid-north coast.

Relative rainfall

Relative to historical records, rainfall during June was above average to extremely high across 53 per cent of the state, average over 39 per cent and below average over 8 per cent.

Areas in the south of the central tablelands, the south east of the central west, the mid-north to north coast, the north east of the northern tablelands and the alpine region received below average relative rainfall. Much of western NSW, areas of the south and Riverina and areas of the north west received well above average rainfall. Rainfall was near average across much of the central and eastern areas of the state.

Quarterly relative rainfall was above average across 78 per cent of the state, and average across most of the remainder.Half yearly relative rainfall was generally average across the state, but above average across areas of the far west, north west slopes, northern tablelands, Monaro, Sydney basin, Hunter valley and areas of the north coast. It was below average across areas of the north west, but average across most of central and western NSW.

Soil moisture

Modelled topsoil moisture levels improved across most of northern and central NSW. Levels remained low in the areas of the north west, far south west and western Riverina. Levels were moderate across the south east, Sydney basin and Hunter valley, and although declining slightly remained high along the coastal strip from the Illawarra to north coast.

Relative to historical records, topsoil moisture was generally average across the south and east of NSW, but above average across most of the northern half of the west, the north west and the northern central west.

Modelled subsoil moisture levels were generally stable during June, remaining low in areas of the north and west but increasing along the coast.Relative to historical records, subsoil moisture remained below average across much of the north west and the central and western areas of the Riverina.

Streamflow

Many inland areas continued to experienced limited run off. Farm water supplies are low in many areas, with some areas critically low.

Streamflow analysis over the last year indicated an improvement in run off across areas of the north and north east of western NSW, and in the western Riverina. However, below average run off occurred across much of northern western and central NSW, the tablelands and areas of the Riverina and the far south. Run off was average or better over much of the coast, Monaro and the far west.

The Bureau of Meteorology's streamflow forecastindicates near median streamflows are likely across most southern NSW monitoring stations during July to September, but low flows in areas of the north. Near-median streamflows were recorded at a number of locations during June.

Relative pasture growth and biomass

Relative to historical records, AussieGRASS modelled pasture growth for June declined in areas of the south east and south west slopes. Relative growth improved but remained low across areas of the north west and western Riverina. It improved to above average across the northern half of western NSW, and remained high across the northern slopes, the northern central west and the north east of the central tablelands. Along the coast, it was generally average.

Relative growth for June was average over 43 per cent of NSW and above average over 36 per cent.

Other pasture growth models indicated well above average growth for temperate pastures across most of the northern half of NSW, including coastal areas from the Illawarra to the north. Growth for the southern half of the state was generally average. It was below average in the south east of the central west, the south western Riverina, and across areas of the far south, the southern tablelands and the Monaro.

Over the three months to June, AussieGRASS relative growth was generally average for western and coastal NSW, and average to above average across much of the tablelands, central west, northern slopes and areas of the south. It was below average across areas of the north west (west of the Newell Highway), the south east and the north western Riverina.

Relative biomass levels improved across the north of western NSW and were average across most of the west. They remained low across areas of the north west and the north western and western Riverina. Most of the tablelands, northern slopes and northern central west had above average relative biomass. Levels across the Hunter valley to north coast were high, but for the south coast were near average.

Figure 1: Relative monthly topsoil moisture

Soil moisture map 

Figure 2: Relative quarterly pasture growth

Pasture growth map 

More information

For more information, contact the NSW Department of Primary Industries on 02 6391 3100 or Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.

Acknowledgments

Information used in this report was sourced from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology and Innovation, the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre, the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (Columbia University), the UK Meteorological Office, the APEC Climate Centre, NSW Local Land Services and NSW Department of Primary Industries.

External links

Disclaimer

The seasonal outlooks presented in this report are obtained from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology and other sources. These outlooks are general statements about the likelihood (chance) of (for example) exceeding the median rainfall or minimum or maximum temperatures. Such probability outlooks should not be used as categorical or definitive forecasts, but should be regarded as tools to assist in risk management and decision making. Changes in seasonal outlooks may have occurred since this report was released. Outlook information was up to date as at 13 July 2015.

Recognising that some of the information in this document is provided by third parties, the State of New South Wales, the author and the publisher take no responsibility for the accuracy, currency, reliability and correctness of any information included in the document provided by third parties.

The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing (13 July 2015). However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that information upon which they rely is up to date and to check currency of the information with the appropriate officer of the Department of Primary Industries, Local Land Services or the user's independent adviser.