Autumn predicted to be drier than normal 

AFTER a hot and dry summer, the outlook for Tasmania is for a drier than normal autumn.

Hobart Bureau of Meteorology climatologist Ian Barnes-Keoghan yesterday said warm water in the Indian Ocean was having a dominant influence on the weather systems affecting south-eastern Australia.

He said the result could be that rain systems didn't reach Tasmania.

``We've had quite a dry and warm summer, and what we might be hoping for is an indication that we will have a wet autumn but we're not seeing a strong indication of that,'' he said.

He said autumn was more likely to be dry than wet.

``The last couple of years have been dominated by the La Nina (effect), which comes out of the Pacific Ocean,'' he said.

Mr Barnes-Keoghan said the Pacific Ocean was now in a neutral phase and there appeared to be no sign of a change in the next three to six months.

He said the outlook for the next three months was based on historical data.

``It's a statistical system, we look at the way ocean temperatures are set up around the world, in particular in the Indian and Pacific oceans,'' he said.

``When they've been set up this way before, more often than not we've wound up with a dry autumn.''

The bureau isn't ruling out rain in the next three months.

``One or two individual rain events could still make it a normal autumn,'' he said.

Tasmania experienced above-average temperatures during January with Hobart recording a maximum of 41.8 degrees, Tasmania's second-highest temperature and the highest ever in the South.

The high temperatures and strong winds resulted in devastating bushfires.

Summer rainfall has been below average throughout the state.

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