Drought Statement - Issued 4th April 2003


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 12 and 16-month periods ending 31st March 2003
ISSUED 4th APRIL 2003

Rainfall deficiencies persist across many parts of the country

March rainfall did little to change the existing rainfall deficiencies across many parts of the country, the Commonwealth Bureau of Meteorology announced today. Across western New South Wales, well below average rainfall for the month caused a slight intensification of the serious to severe deficiencies there.

For the 12-month period from April 2002 to March 2003, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies stretch from far north Queensland across most of NSW, parts of eastern SA and over the eastern two-thirds of Victoria. Also affected are eastern Tasmania, parts of west and south WA, as well as the eastern inland of WA and the adjacent region in the NT.

Localised improvements occurred around Hobart following heavy March falls, around Wagin in southwest WA, and around Grafton and Moree in northeast NSW. There were also some slight improvements in parts of southeast Queensland.

For the longer 16-month period from December 2001 to March 2003, some additional areas between Fraser Island and the mid-north coast of NSW have also experienced serious to severe rainfall deficiencies.

Pacific Ocean indicators continue to point to the decline of the 2002/03 El Niño, and a continuation of this trend would suggest that further follow-up rains are possible over eastern Australia during autumn. For more information on El Niño, see the El Niño Wrap Up page.


Rainfall deficiency maps for standard periods (3, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24 and 36 months) are updated monthly on the Bureau's web site.

Note: The terms used to describe rainfall in these Drought Statements have the following meanings -

Well below average - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals
Below average - rainfalls in the lowest 30% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 10%
Average - rainfalls in the middle 40% of historical totals
Above average - rainfalls in the highest 30% of historical totals, but not in the highest 10%
Well above average - rainfalls in the highest 10% of historical totals
Serious deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 10% of historical totals, but not in the lowest 5%
Severe deficiency - rainfalls in the lowest 5% of historical totals
Lowest on record - lowest since at least 1900 when the data analysed begin


For more information regarding this rainfall deficiencies statement, please contact the following climate meteorologists in the National Climate Centre:

Blair Trewin on (03) 9669 4603
Robert Fawcett on (03) 9669 4296



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