Weekly update - 27 August 2020

Weekly Australian Climate,
Water and Agricultural Update

Key issues

  • During the week ending 26 August 2020, complex low-pressure systems and associated cold fronts developed, bringing moderate rainfall to parts of southern Australia. These falls will be particularly beneficial for cropping regions in parts of South Australia and southern Victoria that have recorded average or lower winter rainfall to‑date. The falls will provide a boost to soil moisture and stabilise crop yield potential and pasture growth rates.
  • It is expected that cooling in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean will continue and a La Niña-like pattern could emerge. Similarly, large parts of the Indian Ocean are warmer than average and the majority of models surveyed are expected to exceed negative IOD in September. The development of these major climate drivers are potentially contributing to the above average spring rainfall outlook for parts of Australia.
  • There is a high chance that rainfall between September and November will be sufficient to sustain above average crop and pasture production through spring in areas where soil moisture is close to average or above average. With the exception of parts of Western Australia, these highly probable rainfall totals – if realised - represent an excellent finish to the 2020 winter growing season across southern Australia and start to the 2020-21 summer cropping season and wet season across northern Australia.
  • Over the next eight days, Cold fronts and troughs are expected to bring rainfall to limited parts of far southern Australia, with high-pressure systems expected to prevent rain bearing systems from moving further over Australia during the week. Across cropping regions, rainfall of between 5 and 15 millimetres is expected across parts of southern Victoria, western and central South Australia, the western and southern Western Australia wheat belt and isolated parts of south-eastern New South Wales.
  • Water storage levels in the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) increased between 19 August 2020 and 26 August 2020 by 529 gigalitres (GL). The current volume of water held in storage is 13,499 GL which represents 53 per cent of total capacity.
  • Allocation prices in the Victorian Murray below the Barmah Choke decreased from $310 per ML from 20 August 2020 to $232 per ML 27 August 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 26 August 2020 complex low-pressure systems and associated cold fronts developed, bringing moderate rainfall to parts of far southern Australia. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across parts of south-eastern New South Wales, southern Victoria, southern South Australia and Tasmania. Rainfall in excess of 50 millimetres was recorded across isolated parts of southern Victoria, alpine regions in south-eastern Australia and western Tasmania.

In Australia’s cropping regions, rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres were recorded across parts of south-eastern New South Wales, southern Victoria, and western and central South Australia. Lower rainfall totals between 1 and 10 millimetres were recorded across cropping regions in far southern Western Australia and remaining cropping regions in central and southern New South Wales, northern Victoria and South Australia during the week ending 26 August 2020.

These moderate but patchy falls will be particularly beneficial for cropping regions in South Australia and southern Victoria that have recorded average or lower winter rainfall to‑date. The falls will provide a boost to soil moisture and stabilise crop yield potential and pasture growth rates.

Rainfall for the week ending 26 August 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: 26/08/2020

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

Following a generally favourable winter cropping season-to-date in Australia, there is interest in how the remainder of the growing season may pan out. To gain some insight it is important to look at the major climate drivers—the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)—that influence spring rainfall across southern Australia. If La Niña and negative IOD conditions were to eventuate as forecast by a range of international climate models, these key climate drivers would become the major influencing factor for spring rainfall outlook across eastern Australia.

If a La Niña and negative IOD conditions were to eventuate during spring, they are likely to create more favourable seasonal conditions for winter crop production than those embodied in the ABARES June 2020 editions of Agricultural commodities and Australian crop report. The enhanced probabilities of a wetter than average spring rainfall would also benefit spring pasture growth across eastern and northern Australia, summer crop production and an early northern rainfall onset.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s ENSO Outlook has progressed to La Niña ALERT. This means that while the El Niño-Southern Oscillation is currently neutral, the chance of a La Niña forming during the southern hemisphere spring has increased to around 70% - roughly three times the normal likelihood.

A La Niña ALERT is not a guarantee that a La Niña will occur; it is an indication that some of the typical precursors of an event are in place. The potential impact of a La Niña event on agricultural production across southern Australia decreases if the event forms during spring or summer, as it has a shorter time to strengthen and will persist for a shorter time before it decays in late summer.

Cooling in the central and eastern Pacific Ocean has continued and has extended along the tropical coastline of South America. Six of the surveyed international climate models suggest the cooling will exceed La Niña thresholds in spring.

Difference from average sea surface temperature observations 10 August to 16 August 2020

20200818_ssta_global_weekly.png

Atmospheric indicators are mixed, with stronger than normal trade winds and decreased cloudiness near the Date Line consistent with the early stages of La Niña development, and neutral but positive Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) consistent with neutral ENSO conditions, indicating that the atmosphere has not completely linked up with the cooling Pacific Ocean patterns. Sustained SOI values above 7 typically indicate La Niña and the latest 30-day SOI value was 5.6 and the latest 90-day value was 0.3.

30-day Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) values ending 16 August 2020

soi_30day_20200818.png

The El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is currently neutral and likely to remain neutral for the remainder of winter and early spring. It is expected that further cooling in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean will occur and a La Niña-like pattern could emerge, potentially contributing to the above average spring rainfall outlook for parts of Australia.

Monthly sea surface temperature anomalies for NINO3.4 region

enso_outlook_20200818.png

The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) is currently neutral, however large parts of the Indian Ocean are warmer than average. Additionally, the Bureau’s model and the majority of international models surveyed are expected to exceed negative IOD thresholds in September, suggesting a negative IOD is likely to develop in spring. A negative IOD typically brings above average rainfall to south-eastern Australia, and the Northern Territory and Queensland during spring and is associated with an early northern rainfall onset.

Monthly sea surface temperature anomalies for IOD region

iod_outlook_20200818.png

The Southern Annular Mode (SAM) is currently negative and expected to become weakly positive for September. 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.

Southern Annular Mode (SAM) daily index

sam_outlook_20200827.png

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 likely for much of Australia and average rainfall is likely for the western coastline during September.

The rainfall outlook for September to November 2020 suggests that wetter than average conditions are much more likely for central and eastern Australia and drier than average conditions are more likely for parts of north-western Australia. There are roughly equal chances of a wetter or drier than average three months across the remainder of Australia (Bureau of Meteorology ‘National Climate Outlook’, 20 August 2019). Bureau of Meteorology rainfall outlooks for September and November have greater than 65% past accuracy across most of the eastern half of Australia and lower accuracy, less than 55%, across parts of central Western Australia.

Chance of exceeding the median rainfall September to November 2020

rain.forecast.median.national.season1.20200820.png

©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 20/08/2020

The outlook for September 2020 suggests that there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 10 and 50 millimetres across south-eastern and far southern Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 50 millimetres are likely across isolated parts of south-eastern Australia, far south-western Australia and much of Tasmania.

There is a high chance of recording close to average September rainfall totals across most agricultural regions, with the exception of south-western Australia. These totals are likely to support above average crop yield potentials across New South Wales and Victoria, and parts of South Australia.

In cropping regions there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 10 and 50 millimetres across much of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. In Queensland and Western Australia there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 10 and 25 millimetres across most cropping regions, with rainfall totals up to 50 millimetres across isolated parts of south-east Queensland and the far south and west of Western Australian wheat belt for September 2020.

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

rain_forecast_calib_scenario_75_national_month1_latest_hr_0.png

©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 20/08/2020

The outlook for September to November 2020 suggests that there is a 75% chance of rainfall totals between 50 and 200 millimetres across much of eastern Australia and parts of northern, central and far south-western Australia. Lower rainfall totals between 25 and 50 millimetres are likely across the remainder of central Australia and parts of south-western Australia. Rainfall totals in excess of 200 millimetres are likely across isolated parts of eastern New South Wales, alpine regions in south-eastern Australia and western Tasmania.

These totals indicate that the northern rainfall onset may occur in parts of central and eastern Queensland and the north of the Northern Territory during October and November. The onset occurs when the total rainfall after 1 September reaches 50 millimetres, this is considered approximately the amount of rainfall required to stimulate plant growth. 

In many areas where soil moisture is close to average to above average for this time of year, there is a high chance of recording September to November rainfall totals sufficient to sustain above average crop and pasture production through spring. In cropping regions, there is a 75% chance of receiving between 100 and 200 millimetres across most of New South Wales, Queensland and parts of southern Victoria and central South Australia. Rainfall totals between 25 and 100 millimetres are likely across cropping regions in northern Victoria, much of South Australia and Western Australia, and isolated parts of south-western New South Wales and northern Queensland between September and November 2020.

With the exception of parts of Western Australia these high chance expected rainfall totals are equivalent to the seasonal median between (1990 and 2012) and represent an excellent finish to the 2020 winter growing season across southern Australia and start to the 2020-21 summer cropping season and wet season across northern Australia. 

Rainfall totals that have a 75% chance of occurring September to November 2020

rain_forecast_calib_scenario_75_national_season1_latest_hr_0.png

©Commonwealth of Australia 2020, Australian Bureau of Meteorology - Issued: 20/08/2020

The temperature outlook for September to November 2020 indicates that temperatures are likely to be between 1°C to 2°C above the 1990-2012 average across parts of northern Australia during the daytime and much of northern and north-eastern Australia during the night-time. 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’, 20 August 2020).

Predicted maximum temperature anomaly for September to November 2020

tmax.forecast.calib_.anom_.national.season1.latest.hr__0.png

Predicted minimum temperature anomaly for September to November 2020

tmin.forecast.calib_.anom_.national.season1.latest.hr__0.png

Rainfall forecast for the next 8 days

Cold fronts and troughs are expected to bring rainfall to limited parts of far southern Australia, with high-pressure systems expected to prevent rain bearing systems from moving further over Australia during the week. Rainfall totals of between 10 and 50 millimetres are forecast for parts of southern Victoria, south-western Western Australia and Tasmania. Rainfall in excess of 50 millimetres is expected across western Tasmania.

In cropping regions, rainfall of between 5 and 15 millimetres is expected across parts of southern Victoria, western and central South Australia, the south and west Western Australia wheat belt and isolated parts of south-eastern New South Wales. Little to no rainfall is expected across cropping regions in Queensland and remaining cropping regions in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia during the next eight days.

Total forecast rainfall (mm) for the period 27 August 2020 to 3 September 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: 27/08/2020

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 – 27 August 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 26-Aug US$/A$ 0.72 0.72 0% 0.68 6% chart
Wheat – US no. 2 hard red winter wheat, fob Gulf 26-Aug US$/t 228 223 2% 195 17% chart
Coarse Grains – US no. 2 yellow corn, fob Gulf 26-Aug US$/t 150 150 1% 152 -1% chart
Canola – Rapeseed, Canada, fob Vancouver 26-Aug US$/t 374 367 2% 357 5% chart
Cotton – Cotlook 'A' Index 26-Aug USc/lb 71 69 3% 75 -5% chart
Sugar – Intercontinental Exchange, nearby futures, no.11 contract 26-Aug USc/lb 13 13 -2% 11 13% chart
Wool – Eastern Market Indicator 26-Aug Ac/kg clean 929 945 -2% 1,715 -46% chart
Wool – Western Market Indicator 19-Aug Ac/kg clean 989 1,046 -5% 2,093 -53% chart

Selected Australian grain export prices

Milling Wheat – APW, Port Adelaide, SA 26-Aug A$/t 319 319 0% 356 -10% chart
Feed Wheat – ASW, Port Adelaide, SA 26-Aug A$/t 304 304 0% 343 -11% chart
Feed Barley – Port Adelaide, SA 26-Aug A$/t 265 265 0% 322 -18% chart
Canola – Kwinana, WA 26-Aug A$/t 632 627 1% 648 -2% chart
Grain Sorghum – Brisbane, QLD 26-Aug A$/t 363 361 1% 398 -9% chart

Selected domestic livestock indicator prices

Beef – Eastern Young Cattle Indicator 26-Aug Ac/kg cwt 784 765 2% 470 67% chart
Mutton – Mutton indicator (18–24 kg fat score 2–3), Vic 12-Aug Ac/kg cwt 499 502 -1% 550 -9% chart
Lamb – Eastern States Trade Lamb Indicator 12-Aug Ac/kg cwt 683 703 -3% 729 -6% chart
Pig – Eastern Seaboard (60.1–75 kg), average of buyers & sellers 05-Aug Ac/kg cwt 309 299 3% 350 -12% chart
Goat – Eastern States (12.1–16 kg) 12-Aug Ac/kg cwt 753 753 0% 935 -19% chart
Live cattle – Light steers ex Darwin to Indonesia 12-Aug Ac/kg lwt 355 355 0% 290 22% 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 19-Aug US$/t 2,936 3,003 -2% 2,905 1% chart
Dairy – Skim milk powder 19-Aug US$/t 2,608 2,583 1% 1,913 36% chart
Dairy – Cheddar cheese 19-Aug US$/t 3,442 3,568 -4% 3,713 -7% chart
Dairy – Anhydrous milk fat 19-Aug US$/t 3,873 3,994 -3% 5,937 -35% 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: 27 August 2020
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