Drought Statement - Issued 2nd September 2004


drought_text.html

Statement on Drought for the 5 and 8-month periods ending 31st August 2004
ISSUED 2nd September 2004 by the National Climate Centre

Rainfall deficiencies persist along east coast & in parts of inland southeastern Australia

The Bureau of Meteorology announced today that, for the period since the start of April, severe rainfall deficiencies remain along the east coast and adjacent ranges following another month with falls generally below the long-term average. In addition, rainfall deficiencies for the year to date persist across some inland areas of southeastern Australia, although the situation did ease a little in comparison with conditions at the end of July.

For the 5-month period from April to August, severe rainfall deficiencies are evident along the east coast and Great Dividing Range from Proserpine on Queensland’s central coast, to Bega in southern NSW. In addition, generally severe deficits extend over much of the central highlands in Queensland, encompassing locations such as Clermont and Emerald. Average to above average August rainfall in southern WA, reduced the areas affected there to a small patch near the coast to the northeast of Albany.

For the 8-month period from January to August, serious to severe rainfall deficiencies affect parts of southern NSW, the ACT and northern Victoria, together with the central Queensland region between Rockhampton and Proserpine. Many of these areas overlap with those affected by 5-month deficiencies, the main exceptions being parts of the Riverina and Lower Western in NSW, and north-central Victoria. Both Sydney and Canberra had their wettest month for the year in August, but Sydney’s year-to-date total is still about 350 mm below average! At Canberra Airport, the total since the 1st of January stands at 173 mm, which is just 44% of the long-term average but still well above the record low of 112 mm set in 1965.

Much of southern and eastern Australia continues to experience deficiencies for periods of two years and longer, and only a prolonged period of above average rainfall will remove them.


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 -

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

Very much 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%
Very much above average - rainfalls in the highest 10% of historical totals


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

Grant Beard on (03) 9669 4527
David Jones on (03) 9669 4085
Mike Coughlan on (03) 9669 4086



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