BoM March rain Outlook fail and Senate Estimates contradictions

Recent rain through Queensland and the centre has so quickly ruined the BoM rain Outlook for March and probably longer.

Real world rain below-

In a priceless twist the Mar to May Outlook was referred to by the BoM in Senate Estimates on 26Feb18 when questioned by Senator Di Natale.
Hansard 20268 26Feb18
bottom p14
Senator DI NATALE: Thank you. What do you expect this year in terms of climate?
Senator Birmingham: What we expect this year would be, I suspect, a prediction of weather.
Mr Webb: We’re in the midst of a La Nina now, but a decaying La Nina; it was very weak. Over the next few
months at least, which is really as far as the bureau tends to predict, a three-month window in advance—typically
coming out of these types of events you do see a dry patch. That’s what we are anticipating: drier than normal
conditions over much of the country. Tasmania is a bit of an exception there. Tasmania and maybe a strip along
the east coast could be a little bit wetter than normal. The odds are leaning towards that, but, of course, as the
broad climate—
Senator DI NATALE: You’re talking about over the next three months?
top p15
Mr Webb: Over the next few months, yes.
Senator Whish-Wilson interjecting—
Mr Webb: Yes, it’s amazing the way that rainfall works in Australia. We’ve seen on a number of occasions,
and Canberra being yesterday, that we can quickly go from below average over time to above average in about
three hours. That’s the reality of some of the drivers. It doesn’t mean that everywhere will be bone dry—there will
be periods of intense rainfall in all of these locations—but generally speaking drier than normal and warmer than
normal as well over the next few months. That’s consistent with a decaying La Nina, as we’ve got. Things look
fairly settled as far as neutral conditions continuing through into the winter period.

The initial Dorothy Dixer by Senator DI NATALE was clipped through the covers by Senator Birmingham but the know all BoM could not shut up. The first contradiction I wanted to point out is where the BoM says – We’re in the midst of a La Nina now, but a decaying La Nina; it was very weak.
There is no way it was optimal on 26Feb18 to say “We’re in the midst of a La Nina now..” The BoM on 13Feb18 said –
The La Niña in the Pacific Ocean continues to decline.
Then further on at Estimates the BoM says “It doesn’t mean that everywhere will be bone dry—there will be periods of intense rainfall in all of these locations—but generally speaking drier than normal…”
Reading that quote carefully it is an impossible nonsense and the BoM should be asked to clarify.
However I see not the slightest chance the BoM would be held to account at Senate Estimates.

15 thoughts on “BoM March rain Outlook fail and Senate Estimates contradictions”

  1. The long Paddock site has been updated on 22nd Feb see and now has a graph with the av 30day SOI on a running basis. In Feb. there was a blib in the SOI (which is not unusual) but it is now headed for the +ve area which indicates wetter than usual for Queensland particularly on my look for the last 125 yrs for the SEQld coastal area. The present SOI gives no indication that the La Nina is dying.

  2. I should have added that the Qld DES monthly climate statement on the Long paddock site makes much more sense than BOM. Maybe those at DES are more honest as there is in Qld a Public Sector Ethics Act which requires public servants to be apolitical.

  3. Di Natale, Webb, Birmingham, Whish-Wilson.
    Not quite Mensa – by the length of the Flemington straight.

  4. The 30 day SOI was minus high 6’s (near El Nino) at the time of estimates and is now near zero indicating neutral conditions. The 90 day SOI has been neutral from the time of estimates till now. That is why I think the BoM saying “We’re in the midst of a La Nina now…” was a bit sus.

  5. I had never seen that page Tom, thanks. So there are many Quangos around Oz that have been collecting rainfall data that is unpublished.
    Those stunner Queensland records for Bellenden Ker Top Number: 31141 -40km S Cairns – ~15km NNW Babinda check out OK. I had Bellenden Ker earlier. My bad.

  6. Warwick, I have that Buderim Qld recorded 665.5 mm on 9th Jan 1898 and between 8th to 10th (3 days) had 1098.6 mm. I believe that the rainfall at the Observatory near Maleny (Jones ?) recorded higher rainfall. Also, there was an official record of rain of over 400mm in under 3 hrs at the Parrearra Weir on the canal from the Mooloola River around Kawana Island a few years ago. It was on TV and in the local papers (Sunshine Coast Daily) Can not remember the exact date but my daughter’s living room was flooded when the gutters overflowed Will look it up.

  7. Hi Warwick, from that page of record rainfall events, it was my parents that collected the data at Kilto Station in 1970. After that amount of rain had been recorded, the gauge was demolished by the cyclonic winds. My dad reckoned they actually got around 36 inches (900mm). They were stranded for a week and took a full day to reach the highway to Broome just 9 miles away. Kilto and Roebuck Plains Stations and other West Kimberley Stations such as Liveringa, on the Fitzroy River valley, are well know for flood events like this over the decades.

  8. The deluge mentioned above was on 23rd March 2012 see The paper says 125mm /hr for three hours.
    The Observatory I refer to is/was Crohamhurst and I think the chap was Indigo Jones. It is listed on the BOM site as closed but daily figures are available. The record rainfall there actually occurred in Feb 1893 when there was a cyclone called the Mooloolah event. The BOM figures are 1st Feb 272.8, 2nd 509.5, 3rd 907.0, 4th 273.3 =1963.6 for 4 days & 1416.5 for the two middle days. . I think these exceed the figures in the BOM table and graph.

  9. Tom have you seen that two of those WA records seem to be deleted at CDO.
    Roebourne 4035 – no April 1898 or much else 1898 –
    and – Broome (Kilto) 3041 5 Dec 1970 1 day 635 deleted
    dunno whats going on.

    Cement – Those totals in the press are elusive – highest I found through CDO was 255 at Caloundra AP 40998 23Mar2012 and 177 at Sunshine Coast Airport 40861 – so the higher totals may be sites not shown by BoM. Jan and Feb had saw ~500mm rain at several sites around there and there was an event in early March too. The contour map for 23Mar12 indicates max 150mm but you need a magnifyer. And re Beerwah (Crohamhurst) 2 Feb 1893 2 days 1417
    no idea why the BoM records only quote the 2 highest days at Crohamhurst and IMHO they should have quoted the date as 3rd Feb for their 2 days @ 1417mm.
    If you run your mouse over the stations here – You find 2 number series – the old 40,xxx series that you can find at CDO – and a newer 540,xxx series which include sites mentioned in your March 2012 press article – and I have not found those data. The 5xx,xxx rain stations up n down Eastern seaboard – (I have noticed them Tas, Melb., ACT, Sydney, Qld) – were put in place as a BoM response to the 10Jan2011 Lockyer Valley-Grantham floods.

  10. So they have. The BoM seems to think the recordings were a mistake apparently. Well, they were mistaken, because this is often brought up by the family for the Kilto result. My parents and younger brother spent the night in a Landcruiser utility and opened the doors and shutters on the house to the elements, which probably save it. My sister was on nearby Waterbank Station which flooded to the bedline at the homestead on the edge of a vast salt marsh at Willie’s Creek, just 30km north of Broome.

  11. While living on stations for a number of years, the weather details were religiously recorded, and rainfall events sent in on HF radio every day to the base in Derby. It was fun listening in to all the other stations sending their data in by this method. Just as important as the automatic weather recordings today.

  12. Warwick & others the poster on extended dry/wet periods here is interesting as it shows periods from 1890 to 2017 varying from 5 to 13 years but on average around 7 years. The low rainfall is coloured red & brown while the high rainfall is coloured blue. According to the graph the period (5yrs) of low rainfall in Qld ended at the end of 2017. Rainfall in the last few weeks certainly indicate that the drought has ended although areas are still drought declared. My look at the charts seem to indicate that there is similarity in the above and below average rainfall between SW WA and SE Qld.
    Would be interested in your comments.

  13. Thanks cement I had not seen that series of maps with selected periods – great synoptic look at our rain history – get the pdf – here is a full page jpg –

  14. Yes download the PDF then increase the zoom it opens at 23% so go to 100%. Then look at the graph of SOI and IPO (inter-decadal Pacific oscillation). There is a pattern. There is no indication of climate change as stated by the Prof Stone in the video on that site. Look at the IPO during the federation drought. It is not becoming more variable. The record is not long enough to say anything about long term patterns of the IPO. However, one can say high negative SOI and high positive IPO is likely to be in drought while high positive SOI and high negative IPO eg 1974 & 2011 are likely to be in floods (there were deaths in SE Qld from floods in those years)

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