Fenner in the news - Queensland flood forecasts might have been wrong, but the Bureau of Meteorology is getting more accurate

2 March 2022

The accuracy of weather forecasts is in the spotlight again after devastating rains inundated swathes of south-east Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said that repeatedly changing weather forecasts made it difficult to plan an emergency response.

But while there is a quirk that may have affected the day-to-day accuracy of weather forecasts in the last couple of years, climatologists say it would be unfair to claim the BOM missed the mark on the weekend's floods.

In fact, forecasts in general have been getting more accurate — extreme events are just much harder to predict, and becoming harder still due to climate change.

ANU professor of climatology Janette Lindesay says those models are good at predicting whether there will be a major weather event.

But predicting how it might unfold is much harder.

"Exactly where there is likely to be that heavy rainfall and how much there is likely to be is extremely difficult to predict, because that is dependent on things like wind, what direction it's blowing from, if it changes direction at sea ... what time they make landfall on the coast, the land versus ocean temperatures it's encountering, all sorts of things," Professor Lindesay said.

Read the full article on the ABC News website.