While the eastern seaboard grapples with an extended wet season it may be comforting to know that climate drivers behind the big inundation are behaving as expected, as they have done in the past. But here's the caveat: Increased ocean temperatures as a result of climate change are super-charging Australian weather.
The Land's weather columnist Don White has always talked about the key ingredients of our weather - La Nina and El Nino, Indian Ocean Dipole, Southern Annular Mode - and how they create the stage for a seasonal outcome.
However, pinning down what will happen beyond a few days out is dangerous. If a farmer counts on a planting window beyond seven days, the bet is a mostly losing proposition.
A long term forecast up to two weeks may not have any relevance to reality.
Read more: Southern graziers embrace tropical grasses.
This year is a case in point. On the back of a record wet La Nina went to sleep for winter and in her place was a most remarkable blast of frigid air, as the southern Annual Mode flipped to negative, creating a pattern of south-westerly winds that lasted a month.
"Sydney had more than its annual rainfall in the first six months and then its driest June for 36 years," said Mr White. "The snowfields had the best start to their season in over 20 years.
"Weather is still an in-exact science."
The variability of inter-decadal weather is a case in point with multiple years of drought or flood that don't correspond to much of a pattern.
"The problem with that, of course, is that we don't have long-enough inter-decadal records," Mr White says.
What we do know is that the 1870s through 1890s were very wet followed by a turn of the century drought that could very well have been a correction. The next 30 years had only a few wet years, the '40s were dry before the extensive inundations of the 1950s and mid 1970s. Lately it was wet in 2010-2012 and of course right now.
"But overall the first 20 years of the 21st century have been more drier than not," says Mr White.
Computer models that try to predict future climate change differ in their views.
"How climate change plays out is debatable," he says. "But generally our weather east of a line from Bourke to Mt Isa could end up being wetter. Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania, in particular, will be drier. The tropics will be wetter but overall, the jury is still out.
"What we do know is that weather events will become more extreme."
An example of this can be understood by looking at the recent La Nina. Despite the pattern of warmer water in the western Pacific, the ocean temps were still a little up on normal in the east.
"However relative to here they're waters are cooler, so the La Nina structure is the same," explains Mr White. "Except everything is being elevated by a couple of degrees.
"The oceans are holding on to more of their energy.
"We're really not clear what will happen next. The long term models can't agree.
Mr White pointed to central Queensland rain falling at the moment after a dry "wet season" as evidence of change.
While in the NSW Central West full soil moisture at Dubbo differs greatly from paddocks south of Cowra or north to Narrabri because of where winds converged to drop rain.
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