skip to content

Your Districts Climate

How the key climate drivers (ENSO, IOD, SAM, STR) affect our seasons.

Meet the Climate Dogs: ENSO, INDY, SAM, & RIDGY


Having a good understanding of what drives our climate from season to season and year to year is necessary for interpreting how seasonal forecasts are likely to impact your farm business. If you’re interested in finding out more about what influences your regions’ climate from season to season and year to year then read on…

So what are the drivers of our climate during wet seasons and droughts in your region? And how is the climate changing over time? How often do you get average rainfall? (Probably not as often as you’d like!) Do you know the key signals for when the season is about to turn? When is the best time to look at forecasts? How could probabilistic forecasts be used in your business? Australia's climate is incredibly variable and this variability is increasing with global average temperature on the rise.

Looking back at your past climate records

Looking back over historical climate data for a region can reveal some interesting trends showing the influence of our climate drivers on seasonal and annual rainfall over preceding decades.

This section is under development. It will include maps and pie charts for a wide range of grain growing localities that will enable you to see if and how the years have panned out in the past in the GRDC south cropping region.

Here is an example of what we'll be preparing for a range of localities across South eastern Australia:

Bordertown Aug-Oct Rainfall in 32 El Nino years since 1881:

Bordertown example charts

Bordertown Aug-Oct rainfall in 27/20 IOD+ years since 1881:

Bordertown example


The key meteorological influences upon the Australian climate

The key meteorological influences upon the Australian climate

To find out more about how our key climate drivers and other influences impact our regions climate, both year to year and seasonally, visit the Bureau of Meteorology, (BOM) Australian Climate influences webpages.

The 4 big climate drivers for SE Australia


The Climate Dogs – rounding up our climate


Climate Drivers References

Interested in finding out more about the key climate drivers for south eastern Australia? The following references might be useful.

El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

The Queensland Govt system of ENSO phases: Stone, R. and Auliciems, A., 1992. SOI phase relationships with rainfall in eastern Australia. International J. Climatology, 12, 625-636.

The three phases of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Bureau of Meteorology Website Link:

Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD)

The original IOD year classification paper: Meyers, G.A., P.C. McIntosh, L. Pigot and M.J. Pook, 2007. The years of El Nino, La Nina and interactions with the tropical Indian Ocean. J. Clim., 20, 2872-2880.

Modified and updated by: Ummenhofer, C.C., Sen Gupta, A., Briggs, P.R., England, M.H., McIntosh, P.C., Meyers, G.A., Pook, M.J., Raupach, M.R., and Risbey, J., 2011. Indian and Pacific Ocean influences on Southeast Australian drought and soil moisture. Journal of Climate, 24, 1313-1336.

Southern Annual Mode (SAM)

SAM index methodology: Marshall, G. J., 2003. Trends in the Southern Annular Mode from observations and reanalyses. J. Clim., 16, 4134-4143.  Link:

SAM data source:  Link:


Subtropical Ridge (STR)

The relationship between the decline of South Eastern Australia rainfall and the strengthening of the sub-tropical ridge. Timbal, B. and W. Drosdowsky, 2012. International Journal. of Climatology. Link:


    Useful Climate Driver References

    The following references have useful information about the interaction of all four climate drivers and their influences on Australia:

    1. Risbey, J.S., M.J. Pook, P.C. McIntosh, M.C. Wheeler and H.H. Hendon, 2009. On the remote drivers of rainfall variability in Australia. Mon. Wea. Rev., 137, 3233-3253. Link:
    2. Agricultural Risk Management Tools from the Qld Govt. This is the son of RAINMAN interactive website. ClimateARM can investigate historic rainfall and temperature for many locations around Australia. Uses the SILO patch point database of Australian gridded data. Missing data values are statistically “created” from neighbouring data. Link:
    3. The Qld Govt. RAINMAN Streamflow program is a great free historic rainfall investigation tool. Link:




    The 'Using Seasonal Forecasts' project is brought to you by GRDC and partners.


    Agriculture Victoria

    Federation University

    SARDI logo

    Regional Connections