Average autumn for weather weary Australia

Australia should experience very average conditions in autumn, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
Australia should experience very average conditions in autumn, the Bureau of Meteorology says.

Australia is facing a very average autumn - a piece of welcome news after a horror summer that reduced swathes of the country to ashes.

The Bureau of Meteorology has released its autumn outlook and says more disastrous weather appears to be off the cards.

Rainfall is looking average for many parts of the country, but there's a chance parts of the tropical north could have a drier end to the wet season, while south and southeastern Australia has a slight chance of above average rain.

However temperatures are likely to be above average for most of Australia, following the general trend of hotter conditions in recent years.

The return to normal weather is thanks to the death of the two main drivers that fuelled the extreme conditions seen over summer, which is expected to be among the three warmest since records began in 1910 once final data is crunched.

"At the start of summer, we saw both a very strong positive Indian Ocean Dipole and a near-record negative Southern Annular Mode, and that resulted in both the warmest and driest December on record, with significant fire weather throughout many parts of the country," climatologist Dr Andrew Watkins says.

"In January we saw those two drivers return to neutral levels, plus a very late arrival of the northern monsoon which finally brought tropical moisture to the continent."

Some of that moisture was dragged south, leading to good recent rainfall along the eastern seaboard, but many inland regions only had patchy rain.

That means they still need sustained rainfall to escape the clutches of the drought but with current climate drivers now in neutral - and expected to stay that way in coming months - above average rainfall is looking unlikely.

"By winter, we will have an even clearer indication if this will change, and hence what the weather will look like for the rest of 2020," Dr Watkins says.

Australian Associated Press