Weekly update - 12 November 2020

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 11 November low pressure systems, troughs and cold fronts generated showers and thunderstorm activity across parts of eastern, northern and south-western Australia.
  • The winter harvest is well underway across southern Australia and recent falls across the Western Australian wheat belt have arrived too late to benefit winter crops. Rainfall across limited Queensland cropping regions will likely provide a boost to soil moisture and benefit summer crop planting.
  • A La Niña event is ongoing in the tropical Pacific. The enhanced probabilities of a wetter than average late spring and early summer rainfall will likely benefit pasture growth across eastern and northern Australia, summer crop production and an early northern rainfall onset.
  • There is a high chance that rainfall between December 2020 to February 2021 will be sufficient to sustain average to above average crop and pasture production through the summer period. These highly probable rainfall totals – if realised - represent favourable growing conditions for the 2020–21 summer cropping season and wet season across northern Australia.
  • Over the next eight days, troughs and cold fronts are expected to bring thunderstorms and showers to parts of eastern, south-western and northern Australia. Across cropping regions, rainfall of between 5 and 25 millimetres is expected across parts of eastern and southern New South Wales, eastern Victoria and southern Western Australia. Little to no rainfall is expected across remaining cropping regions during the next eight days.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) increased by 37 gigalitres (GL) between 4 November 2020 and 11 November 2020. The current volume of water held in storage is 15,562 GL, which represents 61% of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah Choke increased from $175 per ML to $200 per ML between 5 November 2020 and 12 November 2020. Prices are lower in the Goulburn-Broken, Murrumbidgee and regions above the Barmah Choke, due to binding of the Goulburn intervalley trade and Murrumbidgee export limits, and the Barmah Choke trade constraint.

Climate

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Rainfall this week

During the week ending 11 November 2020 low pressure systems, troughs and cold fronts generated showers and thunderstorm activity across parts of eastern, northern and south-western Australia.

Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across parts of eastern New South Wales, central and northern Queensland, eastern Victoria, the south-west and north of Western Australia, the north-west of the Northern Territory and Tasmania. Rainfall in excess of 50 millimetres was recorded across isolated parts of central and eastern Queensland.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across parts of western and northern Queensland, the southern and northern Western Australia wheat belt and isolated parts of eastern New South Wales. Rainfall totals of between 1 and 10 millimetres were recorded across parts of central and eastern New South Wales, western Queensland, western Victoria, South Australia and the remainder of Western Australia during the week ending 11 November 2020.

The winter crop harvest is well underway across southern Australia and recent falls across the Western Australian wheat belt have arrived too late to benefit winter crops. Rainfall across limited Queensland cropping regions will likely provide a boost to soil moisture and benefit summer crop planting.

Rainfall for the week ending 11 November 2020

Map showing weekly rainfall totals in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 11/11/2020

Note: The rainfall analyses and associated maps utilise data contained in the Bureau of Meteorology climate database, the Australian Data Archive for Meteorology (ADAM). The analyses are initially produced automatically from real-time data with limited quality control. They are intended to provide a general overview of rainfall across Australia as quickly as possible after the observations are received. For further information go to http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/rainfall/

Climate Drivers

As the generally favourable winter cropping season wraps up, there is interest in summer cropping season conditions. To gain some insight it is important to look at the major climate drivers—the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)—that influence spring and summer rainfall across southern Australia.

A La Niña is ongoing in the tropical Pacific. A La Niña during late spring and summer is likely to generate the favourable growing conditions for summer crop and pasture production that were central in developing ABARES summer crop and livestock production forecasts embodied in the ABARES September 2020 editions of the Australian crop report and Agricultural commodities. The enhanced probabilities of a wetter than average summer rainfall will likely benefit pasture growth across eastern and northern Australia, summer crop production and an early northern rainfall onset.

The IOD is neutral and expected to remain neutral for the remainder of November. IOD events do not form in summer due to the arrival of the Australian monsoon.

Cool anomalies in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean remain a similar strength to the past fortnight and have extended along the eastern tropics south of the equator. All of the eight surveyed climate models suggest the La Niña will persist until at least through February 2021.

Difference from average sea surface temperature observations 2 to 8 November 2020

Map showing the global sea surface temperature observations difference from average during the previous week. The climatology baseline used is 1961 to 1990. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Atmospheric indicators are generally consistent with a La Niña event, with stronger than average trade winds and decreased cloudiness near the Date Line. The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) has recently dipped into neutral values, however this is likely associated with the passage of the Madden-Julian Oscillation through Indonesia and is expected to be temporary. For the period ending 8 November the 30-day SOI value was 2.4 and the 90-day value was 7.2.

30-day Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values ending 9 November 2020

Graph showing the 30-day Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values for the past two years. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is expected to remain positive during the remainder of November. The SAM refers to the north-south shift of the band of rain-bearing westerly winds and weather systems in the Southern Ocean compared to the usual position. When SAM is positive during spring, this band of westerly winds is further south than normal. This allows for increased moist onshore flow from the Tasman and Coral seas and more rainfall across eastern Australia and a reduced chance of extreme heat. During La Niña events a positive SAM is common in spring and summer, which can enhance the wetter than average influence La Niña has on eastern Australia.

Southern Annular Mode (SAM) daily index

Plume graph from ACCESS-S forecasts showing the daily Southern Annular Mode (SAM) index values for approximately the past 30-days and the forecast mean values for approximately the next 30-days. This graph uses a base period of 1990-2012. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

National Climate Outlook

These climate outlooks are generated by ACCESS–S (Australian Community Climate Earth-System Simulator–Seasonal). ACCESS–S is the Bureau of Meteorology's dynamical (physics-based) weather and climate model used for monthly, seasonal and longer-lead climate outlooks.

For further information, go to http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/about/

The latest rainfall outlook released by the Bureau of Meteorology suggests above average rainfall is more likely for much of Australia during December 2020. There is greater than 65% chance of above average rainfall across parts of western, north-eastern and southern Australia. Drier than average conditions are more likely for parts of south- western Tasmania.

The rainfall outlook for December 2020 to February 2021 suggests that wetter than average conditions are likely for most of mainland Australia and north-eastern Tasmania. Drier than average conditions are more likely for parts of south-western Tasmania. There is greater than 80% chance of above average rainfall across parts of north-eastern and north-western Australia (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 5 November 2020). Bureau of Meteorology rainfall outlooks for December to February have greater than 65% past accuracy across parts of far north-western Australia and scattered parts of southern and eastern Australia. There is lower accuracy, less than 65%, across much of the remainder of Australia, with less than 55% past accuracy across large parts of central, western and eastern Australia.

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall December 2020 to February 2021

Map showing the chance of exceeding median rainfall between December 2020 to February 2021 in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology Issued: 05/11/2020

The outlook for December 2020 suggests that there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 25 and 100 millimetres across much of eastern and northern Australia. There is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 1 and 25 millimetres across much of southern and south-western Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 100 millimetres are likely across parts of northern Australia and isolated parts of eastern Australia and western Tasmania.

There is a high chance of recording close to average December rainfall totals across most agricultural regions, with the exception of parts of western and southern Australia. These totals are likely to support early growth of summer crops across New South Wales and Queensland and above average pasture growth potentials across much of New South Wales, Queensland, the tropical north of Australia and parts of Victoria.

In cropping regions there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 25 and 100 millimetres across much of New South Wales and Queensland. There is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 10 and 25 for much of Victoria, South Australia and the south-western Western Australia wheat belt, with rainfall totals between 1 and 10 millimetres across the remainder of the Western Australia wheat belt for December 2020.

Rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring December 2020

Map showing the rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring during December 2020 in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology Issued: 05/11/2020

The outlook for December 2020 to February 2021 suggests that there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 50 and 300 millimetres across much of western, eastern and central Australia. Lower rainfall totals between 25 and 50 millimetres are likely across the much of South Australia and southern Western Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 300 millimetres are likely across parts of eastern New South Wales, eastern Queensland, western Tasmania and the tropical north of Australia.

There is a high chance of recording December to February rainfall totals sufficient to sustain average to above average crop and pasture production through the summer period.

In cropping regions, there is a 75% chance of receiving between 100 and 300 millimetres across most of New South Wales and Queensland, with totals up to 400 millimetres across cropping regions in northern Queensland. Rainfall totals between 50 and 100 millimetres are likely across cropping regions in parts of southern New South Wales, eastern Victoria, central South Australia and the south-eastern Western Australian wheat belt. Rainfall totals between 25 and 50 millimetres are likely across most remaining cropping regions in Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia between December 2020 and February 2021.

These high chance rainfall totals are almost equivalent to the seasonal median (between 1990 and 2012) and represent favourable growing conditions for the 2020–21 summer cropping season in eastern Australia and wet season across northern Australia. 

Rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring December 2020 to February 2021

Map showing the rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring during the next three months in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology Issued: 05/11/2020

The temperature outlook for December 2020 to February 2021 indicates that night-time temperatures are likely to be between 1°C to 2°C above the 1990-2012 average across large parts of central and eastern Australia and parts of Western  Australia. Average (- 1°C to 1°C) daytime and night-time temperatures are likely for the remainder of the country (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 5 November 2020).

Predicted maximum temperature anomaly for December 2020 to February 2021

Map showing the predicted maximum temperature anomaly for the next three months in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Predicted minimum temperature anomaly for December 2020 to February 2021

Map showing the predicted minimum temperature anomaly for the next three months in Australia. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Troughs and cold fronts moving over south-western, northern and eastern Australia are expected to generate thunderstorms and showers during the next eight days. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 25 millimetres are forecast for parts of eastern New South Wales, eastern Victoria, south-western and northern Western Australia and the north-west of the northern Territory. Rainfall in excess of 25 millimetres is expected across western Tasmania and isolated parts of eastern New South Wales and eastern Victoria.

In cropping regions, rainfall of between 5 and 25 millimetres is expected across parts of eastern and southern New South Wales, eastern Victoria and southern Western Australia. Little to no rainfall is expected across remaining cropping regions during the next eight days.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 12 November to 19 November 2020

Map of the total forecast rainfall for the next 8 days. Image provided by the Bureau of Meteorology. Please refer to accompanying text for a more detailed description.

©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 12/11/2020

Note: This rainfall forecast is produced from computer models. As the model outputs are not altered by weather forecasters, it is important to check local forecasts and warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.

Commodities

Current indicators – 12 November 2020

Indicator Week ended Unit Latest price Price week prior Weekly change Price 12 months prior Year on year change Chart

Selected World Indicator Prices

AUD/USD Exchange rate 11-Nov US$/A$ 0.73 0.71 3% 0.68 7% chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf 11-Nov US$/t 277 277 0% 218 27% chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf 11-Nov US$/t 191 190 1% 164 17% chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Canada, fob Vancouver 11-Nov US$/t 400 425 -6% 372 8% chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index 11-Nov USc/lb 77 76 1% 74 3% chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract 11-Nov USc/lb 15 15 0% 13 16% chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator 11-Nov Ac/kg clean 1,189 1,188 0% 1,511 -21% chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator 11-Nov Ac/kg clean 1,241 1,217 2% 1,416 -12% chart

Selected Australian grain export prices

Milling Wheat – APW, Port Adelaide, SA 11-Nov A$/t 350 359 -3% 353 -1% chart
Feed Wheat – ASW, Port Adelaide, SA 11-Nov A$/t 330 339 -2% 343 -4% chart
Feed Barley – Port Adelaide, SA 11-Nov A$/t 292 300 -3% 306 -5% chart
Canola – Kwinana, WA 11-Nov A$/t 679 677 0% 653 4% chart
Grain Sorghum – Brisbane, QLD 11-Nov A$/t 340 355 -4% 444 -23% chart

Selected domestic livestock indicator prices

Beef – Eastern Young Cattle Indicator 04-Nov Ac/kg cwt 827 819 1% 532 56% chart
Mutton – Mutton indicator (18–24 kg fat score 2–3), Vic 04-Nov Ac/kg cwt 663 644 3% 629 5% chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator 04-Nov Ac/kg cwt 761 795 -4% 911 -16% chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1–75 kg), average of buyers & sellers 28-Oct Ac/kg cwt 347 338 3% 380 -9% chart
Goat – Eastern States (12.1–16 kg) 04-Nov Ac/kg cwt 818 818 0% 870 -6% chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia 04-Nov Ac/kg lwt 355 355 0% 315 13% chart
Live sheep – Live wether (Muchea WA saleyard) to Middle East 11-Dec $/head 105 140 -25% N/A N/A chart

Global Dairy Trade (GDT) weighted average prices a

Dairy – Whole milk powder 04-Nov US$/t 2,985 3,037 -2% 2,768 8% chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder 04-Nov US$/t 2,722 2,851 -5% 1,980 37% chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese 04-Nov US$/t 3,786 3,803 0% 3,503 8% chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat 04-Nov US$/t 4,002 4,110 -3% 5,294 -24% chart

a Global Dairy Trade prices are updated twice monthly on the first and third Tuesday of each month.

Selected world indicator prices
Selected domestic crop indicator prices
Selected domestic livestock indicator prices
Global dairy trade weighted average prices
Movements in selected fruit and vegetable prices
Data attribution

Water

Water storages, water markets and water allocations - current week

The Tableau dashboard may not meet accessibility requirements. For information about the contents of these dashboards contact ABARES.

 
Last reviewed: 12 November 2020
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