With summer gone for another year, the focus has turned to what Australia can expect next- namely, should we brace for our own “Beast from the East”?
Despite rumours of the nation hurtling towards its “coldest winter on record”, the experts have said it’s not time to bunker down for ‘Snowmageddon 2.0’.
Weatherzone meteorologist Max Gonzalez told 9news.com.au Australia is in the middle of what is known as the “spring predictability barrier”, which makes it difficult for season outlook models to make accurate forecasts.
But using the Bureau of Meteorology’s seasonal model (POAMA), Mr Gonzalez predicted we’re in for a warmer than average June to August period.The chance of above median maximum temperature for March to May. (Bureau of Meteorology)Accuracy of temperatures outlook in previous years. (Bureau of Meteorology)
“It’s hinting at negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) conditions for that period,” Mr Gonzalez explained.
“Typically negative IOD events bring above-average winter (temperatures) and early spring rainfall to north-western, central and south-eastern parts of Australia.”
Mr Gonzalez added that another weather forecasting model, the ECMWF, predicted that warmer than usual winter is in store for central and south-eastern parts of Australia.
Neutral temperatures are expected for eastern, western and northern regions, he added.
Snowfall at Mount Buller, Victoria. (AAP)Falls Creek snow fields in Victoria. (AAP)
“The ECMWF is highly regarded among the scientific community and is considered to be one of the best in the world. Although not perfect, it is extremely useful.”
As for this autumn, it’s shaping up to be a warmer and drier than average season for the majority of the country.
Melbourne and Hobart have a 70-80 percent chance of reaching temperatures above the average minimum temperature (7 degrees and 8 degrees) from March through to May, according to new data from BoM.
Melbourne is already living up to this estimate, with maximums reaching the high-20s- and set to break 30 degrees- this week. The city is
Adelaide and Perth can also expect temperatures above average through autumn.
The chance of above median for March to May. (Bureau of Meteorology)
As for Sydney and Brisbane, the likelihood of a warmer than average season is lower at 50 percent, but the minimums are still less than bone-chilling:
Sydney’s average minimum for Autumn is in the mid-teens, while Brisbane averages 14 degrees.
When do seasons officially start and end?
Ben Domensino from Weatherzone explained seasons are caused by the Earth’s tilt, and that a seasonal change isn’t a one-day occurrence, but a gradual transition.
“Seasons are caused by Earth’s tilt. An object roughly the size of Mars slammed into Earth about 4.5 billion years ago, causing our planet to lean over a bit. Earth now orbits the sun with a slant of about 23.5 degrees,” he wrote.
“Earth’s tilted axis causes each pole to point towards the sun during summer, away from the sun in winter, and transitions between these two orientations during spring and autumn.”
A handout picture released by NASA on 25 December 2013 shows a view of planet Earth seen from the Moon, at space, 24 December 1968. (AAP)
Domensino went on to explain that in Australia, seasons are defined by grouping calendar months together: “Spring is September to November, Summer is December to February, Autumn is March to May and Winter is June to August”.
“These seasonal groups combine the hottest and coldest months together for summer and winter and the transition months in spring and autumn. They also make it easier to compile and compare climate statistics about seasons.”