An overwhelmingly dry and cloud-free rain radar for August could signal months of dry weather as Australia approaches its hottest summer after three consecutive years of La Niña.
This comes as warnings for a high chance of bushfires were issued this week, with indications that a positive Indian Ocean Dipole – another weather event which drives a hot and dry summer – will emerge.
A weather map from Sky News Weather of the rain forecast for the next eight days revealed a largely bone-dry forecast, with just 50mm of rainfall predicted for small zones in Far North Queensland, the NSW south coast, and the coastal stretch across the NSW and Queensland border.
Sharing his forecast for the weekend, Sky News meteorologist Rob Sharpe said showers were only forecast for Tasmania, with a low potential for the condensation clouds to brush past southeastern South Australia and south Victoria.
“It’s just the southeast that’s going to be chilly this weekend,” he said.
Overall, “significantly drier than usual” weather was forecast for most of the country for the remainder of August, September and the rest of 2023.
Forecasts also revealed there was a high chance for most of Australia to record maximum temperatures that surpassed normal averages over the next three months.
“As we’ve got this Positive Indian Dipole weather event to our west, and to set up at the moment and that’s already impacting our weather patterns and leading to the dominance of those high pressure systems,” Mr Sharpe said.
“So we’re going to continue seeing that drier than usual weather, and even more so, that hotter than usual weather gradually taking hold.”
A overwhelmingly dry August could signal a months of decreased rainfall and higher temperatures as Australia heads into its most serious bushfire season since the Black Summer fires in 2019-20.
Earlier this week, the Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) released their Season Bushfire Outlook for Spring 2023, flagging an increased risk of significant bushfires for large areas of central and northern NSW.
In Queensland, areas around the inland part of the Capricornia, Wide Bay–Burnett and the Southeast Coastal forecast areas, and in widespread parts of the Southern Downsand Granite Belt have also been flagged as high-risk for fires.
A positive Indian Ocean Dipole will also signal a warmer and dryer spring and summer.
Contrasting temperatures between the western tropical Indian Ocean, near the Horn of Africa and the eastern Indian Ocean, near Indonesia have been at their highest levels since 2019 – the last time a positive IOD was recorded.
While it’s still soon for a positive Indian Ocean Dipole to be officially declared, the Bureau of Meteorology suggests the weather event will be announced in September.
Although the federal office has yet to officially declare El Nino, a weather update released August 15 says it remains likely.
The Bureau’s long-range forecast suggests a spring with below average rainfalls, and higher-than-average maximum temperatures.