THERE'S gloomy news on almost every front at present, but ironically the long-term climate outlook, which has taken such a toll on farmers over the past two years, is now looming as a faint beacon of hope.
In its fortnightly El Nio-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) update the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said conditions in both the Pacific and Indian Oceans, the two key drivers of climate in Australia, remained neutral.
However since the last outlook, the BOM said there had been a large shift in favour of the development of an Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) negative event developing through the middle of the Australian winter.
An IOD negative is correlated with above average rainfall in most of Australia.
The BOM cautioned the skill in forecasting the IOD is low at this time of the year only really improving by low autumn, but all the models are either looking at neutral or negative IOD conditions.
And there is similar good news in the Pacific Ocean although again with forecasts less accurate than later in the year.
Some of the models used by the BOM suggest ocean temperature patterns in the tropical Pacific may become La Nina-like during winter or spring.
Most of the eight climate models surveyed by the Bureau indicate that ENSO is likely to stay neutral through the southern hemisphere winter.
However, three models reach or exceed La Nina levels in winter or spring.
Wet conditions will come as a further boost for the drought recovery on the east coast, which has been aided by some regions receiving their best January to March rainfall figures in close to a century.