Interpreting Climate Outlooks: An Australian Example

Interpreting Climate Outlooks: An Australian Example
Climate outlooks provide probability-based information about expected rainfall and temperatures at timescales of months or longer. This lesson demonstrates how monthly and seasonal outlooks issued by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology can be combined with other information for use in decision-making by persons in climate-sensitive sectors. The lesson explains the main drivers affecting Australia's climate—ENSO, Indian Ocean Dipole, Southern Annular Mode, and the subtropical ridge—and explores how the status of the climate drivers can affect the outlook maps as well as confidence in the outlook information. Case examples (for Wagga Wagga in eastern Australia and Merredin in western Australia) provide a context for interpreting the different types of outlooks using past accuracy maps, climate driver information, and antecedent conditions to arrive at a decision based on the projections and overall confidence.