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.

Mhairi McOwan, 5, of Trevallyn, enjoys the good weather at the Gorge. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER

Mhairi McOwan, 5, of Trevallyn, enjoys the good weather at the Gorge. Picture: PAUL SCAMBLER


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