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Forecasters urge patience

PREPARED: Noradjuha farmer Tim Rethus prepares for the upcoming sowing season on the sprayer. Picture: GREGOR HEARDWIMMERA farmers are impatiently waiting for similar sweeping opening rains to those that drenched Western Australia earlier in the month.
Nanjing Night Net

Forecasters have a strong message for them. Be patient.

There is little relief in the immediate outlook, with most models suggesting no rain of substance until at least the start of May.

But from then on, there are some unprecedented strong signals to suggest a wet season.

Agriculture Victoriaseasonal variability agronomist Dale Grey said he had been involved in the climate monitoring project The Break for eight years.

He said this year is the first time over that period that signals have pointed so strongly at this time of year to factors associated with wetter than average conditions over eastern Australia.

“Of the models we look at, nine out of nine are predicting a negative Indian Ocean Dipole event, consistent with increased rain in south-eastern Australia, will develop in the spring.

“The south-west corner of Victoria has never experienced a drier than average spring when there is a negative IOD event.”

Birchip Cropping Group’s yield prophet manager Tim McClelland said models used by his organisation had a similar upbeat message.

“There are certainly signals emerging consistent with above-average rainfall,” he said.

“The Bureau of Meteorology has upgraded its La Niña tracker to a ‘watch’ and says there is now a 50 per centchance of a La Niña developing.”

Mr Grey said the current dry conditions could partially be attributed to the final influences of last year’s strong El Niño.

He said the Pacific Ocean was still in an El Niño pattern, but added the event was decaying fast.

“There’s a big pool of cold water at depth in the Pacific Ocean,” he said.

“We are now hoping to see that water come to the surface which will then play a role in forming a La Niña.”

Tempering the exciting forecast, Mr Grey said the accuracy of forecasting models was historically low at this time of year.However, he said it was rare to see the models all converging on similar outlooks in relation to the Indian and Pacific Oceans this early in the year.

I don’t know what exactly they are identifying to come to this conclusion, but the fact they are all in agreement is heartening,” he said.“We’ve never seen the models so emphatically pointing in one direction at this time of the year.”

Of the models used by The Break, seven out of nine are predicting a wetter than average spring across south-eastern Australia.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.