About the rainfall timeseries graphs

Analyses available

Australian and regional rainfall timeseries are available from 1900 for annual, financial year, seasonal and monthly rainfall, as well as for the southern (April–November) and northern (October–April) wet seasons. Prior to 1900 Australia's rainfall network was too sparse for reliable analyses.

Note that even though the rainfall timeseries are updated each month, values for recent months should be considered preliminary as it can take several months to fully enter and quality-control all available rainfall data into the database. A climatology (average rainfall) is calculated over a 30 year period; usually 1961–1990 for all periods except summer, northern wet season and the financial year. For these periods, the climatology starts during first month in 1961 and ends in the last month in 1991. For instance, the climatology period for summer ranges from December 1961 to February 1991.

Area average rainfall timeseries are provided for each of the six Australian States and the Northern Territory, all of Australia, and six climatologically distinct regions; northern Australia (north of 26°S), southern Australia (south of 26°S), southwestern Australia (southwest of the line joining 30°S, 115°E and 35°S,120°E), southeastern Australia (south of 33°S, east of 135°E), eastern Australia (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania), and the Murray–Darling catchment. Values calculated for New South Wales include the Australian Capital Territory. The graphs are plotted with a consistent range for the appropriate timeseries.

Australian regions used in timeseries

Timeseries are determined for each Australian State, the Northern Territory and the six regions shown above

Data used

Mean rainfall timeseries are calculated using a high-resolution gridded dataset developed for the Australian Water Availability Project (AWAP). The dataset uses topography-resolving analysis methods applied to all available monthly rainfall data passed by a series of internal quality tests. The resulting analyses have a resolution of approximately 5 km x 5 km.

Please note that any use of these data should be acknowledged to the Bureau of Meteorology. Apart from the purposes of study, research, criticism and review, no part of these data may be reproduced, or redistributed for any commercial purposes, or distributed to a third party for such purpose, without written permission from the Director of Meteorology.

The actual data values used to produce each graph are available via the "Raw dataset" link. The format for these data is:

 <start year><start month><end year><end month>   <mean rainfall value (mm)> 

The "Sorted dataset" link provides the timeseries as a chronologically sorted list in order to place recent values in historical context.

Rainfall network

Representative station locations used for rainfall dataset

Representative locations of rainfall stations included in spatial averages

Further information

Jones, D.A., Wang, W. and Fawcett, R. (2009). High-quality spatial climate data-sets for Australia. Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal, 58, 233–248.

Full electronic copies of papers published in the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal (formerly the Australian Meteorological Magazine) are available online.

Creative Commons By Attribution logo Unless otherwise noted, all maps and graphs in this page are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Australia Licence