Summer, summer rains, forecasts and
As I write, the weather across much of Australia transitions
to summer and, according to some northern indigenous
communities, to Wakaringding, the first rains. In southeastern
Australia, a significant weather system recently brought rainfall
totals in excess of 200 mm to areas of northeastern Victoria,
southeastern New South Wales, and southeastern Queensland.
Such falls at this time of year cause significant problems to crops
ready to harvest. Two official Bureau of Meteorology forecasts
were useful for planning for this event. The first was the Weather
and Climate Outlook, which indicated wetter than average for
southeast Australia, extending up into southwest Queensland
for the month of December. The second was the daily update
weather forecasts leading up to the event.
I was in Yarrawonga in the days preceding the event, and it was
good to see the whole community alert to the forecasts and
using them to accelerate harvesting of some crops and get
the grains into the silos before ripe ears got too wet, and even
potentially started sprouting. How different to several decades
ago, when the accuracy, and hence utility, of such forecasts
would have been much lower. Our AMOS community can be
proud of our contributions to these improvements, based on
decades of dedicated work.
With short-term and seasonal forecasts improving, we now
hear calls from water planners hoping for decadal prediction to
become a reality in the future (seamless prediction over many
timescales). As we have seen before, what seems at first like
slim prospects can slowly turn to results with dedicated work.
There is still much for our communities to do in researching and
developing prediction capability on these short to intermediate
The organising committee for AMOS-ICSHMO 2018 in Sydney
next February has been doing a wonderful job putting
together a great programme, including interesting side events.
Registrants from all over the Southern Hemisphere and beyond
herald an exciting week. If you haven’t yet registered to attend,
full and one-day registrations are still available.
I am sure the challenges and excitement of research combined
with translating research results into useful services for the
Australian community drive much of the work done in AMOS
communities and that will continue in 2018.
I would like to wish all AMOS members a happy and safe festive
season and all the best for 2018—looking forward to meeting
you all in Sydney in February.
Mary Voice, December 2017