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Negative SAM on The Horizon, Hot & Dry November Ahead


The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has released their climate and water outlook for November through to January next year, and reprieve from the heat is unlikely.

October has been drier than average for large parts of Australia. Mildura, in Victoria’s Sunraysia region, recorded no rain in October for the second time since records began, in 1946.  

Even Mount Gambier felt the heat, despite being known for its cooler climate south of Goyder’s Line. The airport recorded a temperature of 34.4 degrees – their hottest October day on record.

The accumulative heat over the past few months and lack of rain have caused soils to dry further, with the Spencer Gulf and Mid North reporting below average soil moisture.

Water storages are also lower compared to this time last year, with the Murray-Darling Basin down fifty-three per cent.

Looking ahead, we can expect the sea temperatures on Australia’s west coast to continue to be affected by the Positive Indian Ocean Dipole.

The flow-on effect of this Positive IOD typically means a hotter and drier than average spring, over central and southern Australia.

Areas of South Australia will be affected by this to varying degrees, with the Spencer Gulf and Flinders bearing the brunt of the heat.

This is paired with BOM’s prediction of a Negative Southern Annular Mode (SAM), where there’s an increased risk of hot and dry conditions for Eastern Australia, from Port Lincoln right across to Bundaberg and down through the South Coast.

Fortunately, both these climate patterns are predicted to break down over summer.

Rain is expected to be below average for almost all of Australia. With this in mind, January may see an easing of the dry signal.  

Days are likely to remain warmer than average, which means an elevated risk of heat waves and fire danger for most of South Australia. Remember to create your 5 Minute Bushfire Plan in preparation for the hot summer ahead.

For more information, see BOM’s Climate Outlook Overview.