Weather forecasters are to shift to a new dynamic climate model from which to predict future weather conditions.
The new approach will rely much less on historical records.
The change is the result of a collaborative project between the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and CSIRO which from May this year will see the Bureau issue its winter weather outlook based on its Predictive Ocean Atmosphere Model for Australia (POAMA) which uses current data on ocean and atmosphere conditions.
Until now BoM has used a model which searched past climate records to find similarities between current and past temperature ocean patterns, before using past rainfall and ocean temperature relationships to generate climate outlooks.
Historical records not working
Manager of Climate Prediction Services at BoM, Andrew Watkins said increased computer power had enabled scientists to make greater use of the data collected by sources ranging from ocean buoys and ships to satellites.
Mr Watkins said it was also recent records and pattern breaking conditions driving the switch in models.
“One of the big assumptions that the (statistical) model makes is that the climate is going to behave in the future as it has in the past,” Mr Watkins said.
“'We are increasingly of lower confidence that the past gives you the future.”
Principal Research Scientist with the Marine and Atmospheric Research unit at the CSIRO, Peter McIntosh said the new model was partly funded by the Grains Corporation and had taken more than a decade to develop.
Dr McIntosh said POAMA had been extensively tested, particularly in Western Australia, where it had been 'enormously valuable'' in helping farmers decide which crops to plant.