Spring's about to be sprung and we're in for a fickle season
SPRING is about to be sprung and with it one of the driest ever winters will be gone.
But meteorologists have cautioned that Australia's climate is "idling in neutral" and while the coming seasons days may be warmer than usual, cold and frosty mornings will be a feature for some time to come.
On Thursday, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) released its spring climate outlook as well its assessment of winter.
And if there was one word to sum up winter, it would be this: "dry".
"For most of Australia this winter will be remembered for its cold nights, mild days and lack of rain," said Sky News Meteorologist Tom Saunders.
"Every Australian capital's rain total this season was below the long-term average and every capital's maximum temperatures was above the long-term average."
Australia has had its second driest June in 118 years of records. July was also above average while Brisbane had its warmest ever winter - 2C above the long-term average.
In the Pilbara, a temperature of 39.6C was recorded, the fourth highest ever winter temperature in Australia.
Some notably chilly mornings in Sydney have masked abnormally warm winter days. In contrast, Canberra had one of its chilliest seasons. But just about everywhere south of the tropics, the lack of rain has been the standout feature.
That is except for Perth that recorded its wettest winter for six years, said Mr Saunders.
"But Perth still registered its 17th consecutive winter with below average rain due to climate change reducing the frequency of rain bearing cold fronts over south-west Western Australia," he said.
CHANGE OF SEASONS - LITTLE CHANGE OF WEATHER
Moving into spring, it's a case of same same but different season.
Bureau Senior Climatologist Robyn Duell said climate systems, which when in full gear can have a dramatic effect on Australia's weather, were just not bothering to turn up to the party.
"Our main climate drivers - [El Nino/La Nina] and the Indian Ocean Dipole - are idling in neutral at the moment and both are likely to stay that way until the end of the year.
"However, high pressure systems are likely to persist just south of Australia as we head into spring. This typically means sunnier days and less rain for southern parts, and higher temperatures for the north," Ms Duell said during the BoM's seasonal climate outlook.
Warmer sea temperatures encircling the continent is the chief suspect causing the persistent high pressure system that, like a lazy sumo wrestler, has been squatting over southern Australia for months.
High pressure often leads to clear skies. This means bright and balmy sunny days but that heat can then rapidly escape as the sun dips below the horizon.
Dam levels are slightly down on last year and while no one's panicking yet, some good dumps of rain would be welcome. Northern NSW and parts of southern Western Australia could see above average rain.
It's going to be a "fickle" spring, said Ms Duell. "Days and nights are likely to be warmer than average for much of Australia, but the potential for clear night skies means a greater risk of frost in many areas."
All in all, it's a wardrobe nightmare. Particularly in the south, you'll need to keep the summery clothes on hand for the warm days, but don't forget to pack your scarf because there'll be some icy morning commutes to come.