Some drought relief expected, but summer will be hot
A long, hot summer is likely across Australia, but some much-needed rain is on the way for farmers in drought-affected areas of NSW.
Following a wet October, the Bureau of Meteorology said the outlook for December to February will be warmer-than-average summer days and nights.
Dry conditions are predicted for large parts of Western Australia, Tasmania's west and Queensland, increasing the risk of bushfires.
But BOM's senior hydrologist Robert Pipunic said rain will likely bring some relief to drought-affected parts of NSW and Victoria next month.
"High pressure over the South Tasman Sea will drive more humid air inland than normal, resulting in a welcome wetter-than-usual December outlook for central and eastern NSW and eastern Victoria," Dr Pipunic said today.
About half of farm land across Australia's southeast remains in drought, with NSW having experienced its fourth-driest and warmest January-October period on record.
The current drought has lasted more than a year with the nation sweating through its third-hottest year on record in 2017.
While buckets of rain fell across the nation last month, it wasn't enough to break the drought in NSW and Queensland.
Temperatures have also been rising, with near-record figures in some parts of the country.
Warmer seas in the tropical Pacific Ocean have increased threefold the risk of an El Nino forming in the coming months, meaning lower rainfall across parts of the country.
"However, El Nino typically has a weaker influence in the current drought areas of southeast Australia during summer than it does in winter and spring," BOM's latest climate outlook said.
It also means an equal chance of either a wet or dry summer for the rest of the country.
Further warming of the Pacific Ocean is likely, BOM says, with the majority of climate models predicting sea surface temperatures remaining above El Nino thresholds until at least March.